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>
The film received mostly positive reviews from movie critics, including rave reviews by Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert. But the ending supposedly made the movie suffer at the box office. 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 »
Ya know, the only trouble I ever got into was when I was TOO careful!
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An enjoyable mix of `Blow-Up' and `The Conversation'
Jack is a sound editor for small films. When he is out one evening recording background noises, he inadvertently records a car crash which kills a politician running for the US Presidency, although Jack saves a girl in the car. When pressured to say that the politician was alone, Jack finds that his recording may prove that it was murder and not an accident. However someone is cutting off the loose ends around the crime.
A clever rework of Blow-Up that is given a thriller twist and visual style by De Palma. The story is quite straight forward and doesn't contain too many twists and turns. However it does have a good premise at it's core and it builds to a suitably low-key ending.
De Palma works well with the material at some points it's a little obtrusive, but he certainly can frame a shot. From his use of foreground and background focusing to the scene where Travolta realises what he has on tape he has style to spare. He handles the ending well but perhaps feels he wants to be like Coppola a bit too much.
Pre-career dip Travolta gives his best performance before Pulp Fiction he plays the everyman really well and is totally convincing. Allen is a little too squeaky and irritating, but get past this and she's OK. Franz is on-form as a sleazy opportunist, while Lithgow is chilling as a ruthless, clinical killer.
Overall it occasionally feels like there is more style than substance but everyone holds their end up and the result is a solid, enjoyable thriller that maybe pays a bit too much homage to other work.
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