Swift, brutal, and black-hearted, Allen Baron’s New York City noir Blast of Silence is a sensational surprise, a low-budget, carefully crafted portrait of a hit man on assignment in Manhattan during Christmastime.
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Precision. Blast of Silence is minimalism that draws you in with the method of operation of its mafia hitman. He's not a warm character (he even loves coldly) but his methodical narration, as well as actions, allow the viewer to know him very well. The film is void of greater insight, but it covers a lot of succinct plot and character/setting details in a 77-minute runtime, barreling at you like a .32 slug.
Allen Baron succeeds in creating an atmosphere. Maybe it´s this music, or maybe it´s New York, this nostalgic New York feeling. But in France in the 1960s, Melville or Bresson (and of course Duras) would have made the film without the voice over. To make it dryer, to fill it with silences and habits of the killer. Still it is worth better than the B mention. Beautiful last sequence.
Although deeply inscribed in the ways of American independent B movies, being an accurate portrayal of New York in the 60s, this movie reminds me the existentialist formality of some of the most extraordinary examples of Japanese New Wave thrillers, such as the ones by Shinoda, Gosha or Teshigahara. The omniscient demiurgical narrator is also, in this case, a different character that by the sound becomes indelible.
One of the greatest independent films--set the stage for the new age of film noir and gangster films and heavily influenced Martin Scorsese (as can be seen in Mean Streets). Perfect movie to watch during the Christmas season when you're in a lonely place.
After enjoying but not being thoroughly impressed with Blast of Silence initially, subsequent viewings did a hell of a lot more for me. It was like Sin City's neurotic, blue-collar deadbeat dad. A fast, nasty and quick watch that really impresses, especially when you stop & realize its 50 years old. One of my favorite Christmas movies and a shame that Baron never made another movie.
Where's all the praise for this coming from? I thought it was really hammy and cliched, personally, and while there were some interesting things about Frankie none of them got enough screen time to really amount to much. It all felt very by-the-numbers.
Offbeat B-movie film noir plays more like a European art film than a Hollywood crime drama, especially with its nihilistic ending. Strong performances and authentic, gritty big city atmosphere - though the atmosphere was somewhat more compelling than the actual plot. Very effective jazz score.