This stylish Brian De Palma thriller plays off the theme of the unsuspecting witness who discovers a crime and is thereby put in grave danger, but with a novel twist. Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he does not know whom he can trust. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Brian De Palma was married to Nancy Allen during the making of this film in 1981. They divorced in 1984. See more »
In the pre-credit "slasher movie" sequence, the shadowed reflections of both the "slasher" (intended or, at least, credible) and the camera operator and his Steadicam (unintended) can be seen in the tile wall to the right of the showering girl. Perhaps the reason the girl was hired, as explained to John T's character in the projection room by the film's producer, was thought to be a sufficient distraction so as to preclude a retake. See more »
Jesus, that's terrible.
That's a terrible scream. Jack, what cat did you have to strangle to get that?
The one you hired. That's her scream.
You mean you didn't dub that?
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In 1981, Brian De Palma released what might be considered his "best" thriller to date. The "Slasher" genre was at full blossom, and the conspiracy driven, psychological thrillers of the 1970s were slowly declining in terms of popularity.
"Blow Out" stars John Travolta as Jack, a sound engineer for an independent movie picture, that discovers what first appears to be a tragic car-accident - is in fact a murder. Sally, who is rescued from the wreck by the protagonist (Travolta) himself stays as his counterpart though out the movie. Jack must set the story straight, and prove the police wrong.
De Palma is known for his themes of guilt, paranoia and obsession which work as essential parts for the character development in "Blow Out". It's a hell of ride from start to finish, and one can truly state that Brian De Palma is a master of suspense.
The acting of John Travolta is superb and convincing, and I dare to say that it's his best role to date. I was a bit skeptical to Nancy Allen at first, but her naive character grew on me over the course of the film, and might actually be one of the things that makes this film so great; that is believable character development without the often sudden change of identity.
Blow out is stylish, and both the directing of De Palma and cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond is highly impressive. From beautifully shot scenes in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola to the drastic suspense of Hitchcock, De Palma uses all the best tricks in the book.
"Blow Out" is non-stop suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The last 15 minutes finale is quite extraordinary. The atmosphere, mood and cinematography are all close perfect. It truly is Brian De Palma's forgotten masterpiece.
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