Friday, January 20, 2012

Blow Out

A conspiracy thriller where sound recordist John Travolta might have evidence that a presidential candidate has been assassinated. Also starring Dennis Franz at his sleaziest and Nancy Allen at her most vulnerable, directed by Brian De Palma.

Ah, De Palma... His two latest films, Black Dahlia and Redacted were pretty awful. I thought he was such an established director that he could afford a couple of flops, but there hasn't been any new film from him in several years. Give us one more masterpiece before you kick the bucket, okay? Blow Out is an homage to Antonioni's film, taking up themes that concern De Palma as well: reality, illusion and the lies underneath. There are several bravura sequences, one of them being Travolta finding out his tapes have been tampered with. There's also a pretty big plot hole. At some point Travolta just needs to take a phone call to find out something. He doesn't. It would have ruined the ending of the film, of course: A resigned sadness, that I'm not sure you can get away with in modern Hollywood films anymore.


  1. I've not seen this one, but the sound recording/surveillance aspect reminded me of The Conversation with Gene Hackman, and the more recent The Lives of Others. Have you seen those? Both are worthwhile, as I recall.

  2. The Conversation is a good film. Haven't seen the other one. I'd recommend Blow Out, but it depends a bit on how you feel about Brian De Palma.

    1. To be honest, I don't think I've seen enough of his films to form a real opinion. The only ones I remember seeing offhand are Carrie and The Untouchables. I don't remember Carrie too well. The Untouchables I've always liked. Blow Out sounds interesting. What do you think of Scarface? It seems like one of those classics that should be watched, but I've never gotten to it...

  3. Scarface is good, but I never cared too much for the main characters. I prefer Carlito's Way, also starring Al Pacino.

  4. Blow Out is one of my most favorite films ever. So nice to learn that we share a fascination with De Palma.

    Jason, you might be interested in a project I've been involved with for Indiewire's Press Play. It's a re-cut of Raising Cain that tries to approximate Brian De Palma’s original vision before the director chose to compromise its structure in post-production. For a more complete appreciation, watch the video essay first:

    Can't wait for Athos in America!