One of those break-the-mold kind of gems, 'Blow Out' is a genre masterpiece. Typically, a thriller like this has little to no depth and is often so stuffed with cheese that it's almost unbearable to watch. De Palma even acknowledges the cheese of the genre- and perhaps even his own films- by starting the film with a glimpse into the film that Jack (Travolta), a sound man, is working on. It's a horrible 'B' movie...↓
Of De Palma’s work that I've seen, this is definitely the best. In fact, there are inarguably moments of genius, such as the scene by the lake where we first see the main protagonist recording sounds. But my problem overall with him is that everything he seems to do is borrowing from other sources. It seems like a ripoff of something that is much better.
Fails to use the construct of voyeurism and artifice to inhabit the mind of its hero as scathingly as 'Body Double', but this might be the worst thing about De Palma; his films all in some way better previous themes or ideas. It is a misstep for me that he even follows anyone else's POV in this, and some of the conspiracies ring hollow - especially Lithgow's strange rogue gunman. Cynical film, will revisit.
A near perfect movie with perfect casting and a riveting story that taps into political paranoia and personal obsession with aplomb. Travolta is great as the protagonist and is aptly supported by the rest of the cast. Donaggio´s suspenseful and mournful score elevates the suspense and drama with great effect. De Palma show yet again why he was THE master of suspense during his heyday. Stone cold classic!
"So, you're an ear-witness to an assassination' Although we aren't initially given the desired bird's eye view of the crime, through a slow and steady splicing and dicing of the sonic evidence, Jack assembles a visual puzzle to accompany the crime and answer his questions. Recurring themes of perspective and voyeurism are ever present. Perfect sonically, striking visually, captivating narratively. DP is never boring.
All Brian De Palma ever does is turn in shallow remakes of another artist's work. Blowout is just a superficial remake of Blowup (1966), Scarface is a remake of Howard Hawk's original, The Untouchables is taken from well The Untouchables TV show, Mission Impossible is from the TV show & Body Double was just a depressingly woeful revision of Hitchcock's Rear Window and Vertigo. No wonder he's Tarantino's inspiration.
With CARRIE, De Palma was a show-off. A delicious show-off. With BLOW OUT, De Palma uses his look-at-me arsenal of tricks and treats to craft a zippy thriller that wades through a world of paranoia and political horror. Through its mosaic of 70s political scandal headlines, BLOW OUT attains a kind of psychedelic realism, blending everything from that decade that proved paranoia was a reasonable emotion.
I love De Palma's personal handling of the camera like we're not allowed to see as in the beginning where we're watching a movie at Jack's work. But although the movie starts very intriguing and exciting the story goes into free fall and some decisions (so the movie works) are just sloppy, like that regretful ending. Nothing here unless the soundtrack can be compared to "The Conversation" by Coppola.
Decent but disappointing compared to De Palmas other well known mystery thriller Dressed to Kill, released one year before. This in someway makes it a typical De Palma film for me: It seems to have everything that should have the same punch as the couple of great ones he made, but in the end just delivers a nudge.