Blackout (1978) Poster


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A very tense and effective little thriller
Woodyanders7 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A gang of dangerous and ferocious criminals led by the shrewd and ruthless Christie (a genuinely chilling portrayal by Robert Carradine, who's excellent in a rare full-blown villainous part) terrorize the hapless residents of a deluxe high-rise apartment during the infamous 1977 New York City power blackout. It's up to brave cop Dan Evans (a fine and credible performance by Jim Mitchum) to save the day. Director Eddy Matalon, working from a tight and absorbing script by John C.W. Saxton, relates the gripping story at a brisk pace, builds a substantial amount of nerve-rattling suspense, and maintains an appropriately tough, gritty, and serious tone throughout. The bad guys are a memorably foul and frightening bunch: Don Granberry as giggly, volatile nutcase Chico, Terry Haig as slimy rapist Eddy, and Victor B. Tyler as mute hulking brute Marcus. The sound acting from a tip-top cast keeps this picture humming: Mitchum and Carradine both do sterling work in the leads, with able support from Belinda Montgomery as the plucky Annie Gallo, June Allyson as the kindly Mrs. Grant, Jean-Pierre Aumont as suave French magician Henri, and Ray Milland as sour rich old grouch Richard Stafford. The moments of sudden ugly violence pack a pretty harsh punch. The climactic confrontation between Evans and Christie in a parking garage is extremely exciting and well staged. This movie deserves extra praise for its evenly balanced presentation of how a crisis situation brings out both the best and worst in people. Jean-Jacques Tarbes' sharp cinematography boats several impressive panoramic shots of the city. Didier Vasseur's robust score hits the rousing spot. A worthwhile film.
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Where were the thugs when the lights went out?
Coventry17 November 2014
The factual and notorious 1977 New York City blackout (thank you, Wikipedia) clearly worked inspirational quite fast! Not even a year later came this raw, gritty and low-budgeted Canadian exploitation flick directed by Eddy Matalon ("Cathy's Curse") and co-produced by Ivan Reitman ("Cannibal Girls", "Ghostbusters"). "Blackout" certainly isn't a great or even memorable thriller, but it stars a couple of familiar faces and features a handful of notably sadistic sequences. When all electricity falls out in New York City, as a result of a heavy thunderstorm, four dangerous criminals manage to escape from a prison transport van and entrench themselves in a luxurious apartment block. The building homes a variety of tenants (including a wealthy elderly couple, a terminally ill patient on life support, an 8- months pregnant lady and a magician with dog) and there's a big fat Greek wedding party at the top floor. With a devastating crime spree and tons of looting going on in the darkened city streets, tough copper Dan Evans finds himself all alone and without any chance for back-up to battle the thugs inside the apartment tower. Especially during the first half hour, "Blackout" is slow-paced and rather uneventful. All characters, including the insignificant supportive ones, are extendedly introduced before the actual power failure, so it seemingly takes ages before something interesting happens. The 1977 blackout became legendary because of the looting and unseen chaos in New York, but these factual aspects are only hinted at in the film and briefly illustrated through – I think – stock footage. I presume there wasn't enough budget to shoot a thriller on the streets, but an apartment complex under siege is a cool alternative. The villainous quartet initially doesn't seem very menacing, but they nevertheless pull off a number of brutish tricks, like rape and execution. Terrific finale, too! Particularly the oddly cast Robert Carradine ("Revenge of the Nerds") is shockingly cold-blooded as the lead gangster, and the fairly unknown Don Granberry is memorable as the (pyro-) maniacal and constantly giggling lunatic Chico. Personal favorite of mine Ray Milland briefly appears – as he did numerous of times during the final years of his rich career – as an embittered old tyrant.
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New York enshrouded by darkness.
HumanoidOfFlesh21 July 2010
All the lights are gone in New York during a citywide power failure.Four dangerous criminals escape from the prison bus and hide in a posh apartment building owned by wealthy Ray Milland.The convicts begin to terrorize the residents and it's up to Jim Mitchum to stop the orgy of violence and abuse...I haven't seen Eddy Matalon's tedious "Cathy's Curse" yet,but "Blackout" is a pretty tense exploitation thriller.The action is exciting and the cast is impressive.The few scenes of violence are quite hard-hitting.If you are into 70's gritty and washed out excursions into urban paranoia give "Blackout" a chance.This obscure flick deserves to be seen.8 blackouts of 10.
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Surprisingly Undramatic And Even A Bit Silly At Times
sddavis6320 October 2009
The basics seemed right. New York City gets hit with a huge power outage, and in the midst of it four very violent criminals escape from custody, get into a high rise apartment building and terrorize the tenants, all the while being pursued by a lone cop. It sounds like it should be a pretty decent actioner, but from the very beginning it just didn't seem to work very well. It began with a far too long introduction to what was happening, and when the "action" did start it just came in dribs and drabs, but there was nothing sustained to it. Then to an overall dull-ish feel, you have to add a few rather silly elements in the plot. Let's see. There's the woman who gets raped and is obviously traumatized by the experience but ends up within a few minutes as the cop's partner searching the building. Then, the cop is telling everyone he meets (including a couple of unaccompanied kids) to go to the lobby (but what if they meet up with the gang on the way?) but then tells an elderly couple to stay in their half burned and smoke-filled apartment after one of the bad guys turned pyromaniac. Does any of that make any sense? We were never told what happened to the man whose ventilator was turned off (presumably he died while his wife who was tied up watched, but that was never tied up) and then one of the bad guys turns on another because the latter one hits a kid - after everything else (murder, rape, arson) we suddenly get "you don't hit a kid" and two crooks end up killing each other over it? I also wasn't taken with the performances, which seemed pretty dry to me most of the way through. The movie also had a very low-budget feel most of the way through. Some good scenes of looting appeared throughout the movie as a reminder of the ugliness of human nature, because we know that really does happen in such circumstances, and the closing car chase through the underground parking lot was pretty decent. Aside from those points though there's not much to recommend this. 2/10
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Pretty good Canadian actioner
Serpent-529 May 1999
I wouldn't be surprised Hollywood will one day borrow some idea off of this film. New York has a blackout and four nutty convicts (lead by activist Robert Carradine) goes to a High Rise apartment and haunt the tenant. Jim Mitchum plays a cop who is the only one that can stop them (sort of like Bruce Willis in DIE HARD). New World Picture edited a very important scene in the film, where they explained about the convict. Ray Milland is good also
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