Customer Reviews


110 Reviews
5 star:
 (68)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition Delves Deeper into Blow Out
Fans of this film can finally get rid of the bare bones edition that was released years ago. In addition to the extras on the DVD, the accompanying booklet features Pauline Kael's original review and a reproduction of the magazine in the film that published the photographs of McRyan's car crash.

"Noah Baumbach Interviews Brian De Palma" features the New York...
Published on April 23, 2011 by Cubist

versus
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has great moments, but never capitalizes
The dense, complicated plot of Blow Out is hard to simplify. Basically, Jack Terry (Travolta) is a sound man for a seedy film company in Philadelphia. One night, while out in nature taping for effects, Jack witnesses the car crash of a vehicle carrying the man who was probably going to be the next President of the USA. The vehicle was also carrying Sally (Nancy Allen...
Published on August 26, 2006 by Adam Craig


‹ Previous | 1 2 311 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great movie about movie-making and more, January 2, 2002
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
Yeah, yeah-- more extras would have been nice, but this DVD DOES give you a sharp, sparkling print of a great Brian De Palma movie, one of his best, in fact. So, at this price, why complain? Just turn down the lights and enjoy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De Palma's most personal work, October 15, 2004
By 
P. Losada (Baltimore, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
I love this film on so many levels, but there is a common criticism I tend to see about it which is that the John Lithgow character is useless to the plot. I strongly disagree because without knowing his part in the story, all we're left with is a lame attempt to rip-off Antonioni's Blow-Up.

Instead, De Palma created an incredibly fun play on irony. Part of the joy of watching this film is knowing what the protagonists don't know in the last two thirds of the story. De Palma uses this as a vehicle to explain how exactly a conspiracy could be implemented. If anyone know's De Palma's feelings on the Kennedy assisanation, they will see just how personal and revealing Blow Out is. Not just with conspiracy theories, but also in the John Travolta character and his attraction to the nympho-qualities of Nancy Allen. Personal, powerful, fun, and downright cynical--by far my favorite work from both Travolta and De Palma.

Also worth checking out is Casualties of War, Sisters, Greetings, and Dressed to Kill among many others.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hitchcock/JFK Type Story, November 5, 2012
By 
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
DePalma shows a superb eye for shot composition and visual storytelling but left the plot details a little loosey goosey at times here. I still give it 4 stars because the acting is good and it does build suspense the way many older thrillers used to. DePalma also showed a lot of guts with an atypical ending, just as he had done with "Carrie" and would do with "Scarface."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, Fascinating Thriller, April 28, 2011
By 
Political thrillers have had uneven success at the box office, but one of the best is Brian De Palma's 1981 drama, "Blow Out." De Palma spent a number of years making Hitchcock homage films -- "Sisters," "Obsession," "Dressed to Kill." "Blow Out" is inspired by Antonioni's "Blow Up" and Coppola's "The Conversation," but has an identity all its own and reflects more of De Palma than his Hitchcock imitations.

"Blow Out" stars John Travolta, three years after his mega-box office success in "Grease." No two films could be further apart in mood, character development, and overall style. Jack Terri (Travolta) is a sound technician who works on soft-core porn movies. He becomes intrigued and later obsessed by what seems to be a conspiracy to cover up the murder of a politician in a car crash he accidentally witnesses and records. He falls in love with the young woman, Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen), who was in the car with the politician when he was killed.

"Blow Out" builds interestingly as Jack becomes increasingly convinced that he's onto a crime that the authorities have overlooked. De Palma loves showing off the mechanics of filmmaking and sound recording, and there are many lengthy, dialogue-less scenes that portray the machinery and technology employed by Jack in attempting to demystify what he thinks he's witnessed.

The success of "Blow Out" is De Palma's ability to present it as an escalating real-life nightmare, as Jack refuses to abandon his suspicions and uses his technical talent to devolve a mystery. Also resonating in the movie is the Chappaquidick incident and the three major political assassinations of the 1960's.

Travolta is very good as Jack, who is the only decent character in the movie. In fact, it is one of his best on-screen performances. He's asked to be solidly dramatic and portray many of his feelings with expression and reaction shots. He was seldom asked to play this kind of heavy-duty role again until "Pulp Fiction."

The restored digital transfer looks pristine in Blu-ray. Bonus extras include a new hour-long interview with De Palma, a new interview with Nancy Allen, Garrett Brown discussing the then-new Steadicam shots featured in the film-within-the-film, on-set photos, and a booklet featuring a critical essay.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Suspense Thrillers of the 80s, March 24, 2011
This review is from: Blow Out (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Brian De Palma may have hit a career slump in recent years but his 1981 film Blow Out, released on the heels of his equally impressive Dressed to Kill, shows a writer/director at the top of his form and it is here that he crafted one of his finest films and one of the finest suspense thrillers of the 1980s. Basically a collage of several movies, the mechanics of moviemaking itself, and various political conspiracies; Blow Out is an entertaining, artistic, and masterfully made film that shows why the name De Palma once meant something and why a young John Travolta was once a true movie star.

Jack Terry (Travolta) is a sound technician for low-budget horror films in Philadelphia. One night while out recording sounds, he witnesses and records a car accident before saving a young woman (Nancy Allen) from the drowning car. At the hospital, Jack is told that the driver of the car was a presidential hopeful and the woman, Sally, a prostitute...Jack is told to not talk to the press about the girl or anything else out of respect for the man's family. Jack agrees, but going over what he's recorded he hears what he believes shows that the wreck was no accident at all. Reconstructing the accident from pictures taken by another person at the scene and the sound he recorded, Jack begins to uncover something far more mysterious than what he first thought.

Co-starring Dennis Franz and the appropriately creepy John Lithgow, Blow Out begins as a mystery but slowly morphs into a suspense film. De Palma's script is imperfect, but very well-written and certainly derives inspiration from Antonioni's Blow-Up but it's the style with which he directs his script that has made Blow Out a film that is still talked about 30 years after its release. During this timeframe, De Palma was a master at framing his shots and his unique framing is responsible for some of the movie's most memorable moments. His style with this and Dressed to Kill are reminiscent of Hitchcock, whom he drew a significant amount of inspiration from but he displays a style in the two films that is all his own. Look at the final moments of the film with the fireworks, which is absolutely terrific. It's a beautiful scene; well-shot, well-scored, well-acted, and well-executed showing a director with complete control over his craft.

Aside from De Palma's contribution, John Travolta really shines in this movie as the charming sound technician dedicated to finding the truth about the accident. He brings his boyish good looks and natural charisma, as well as subtlety and a certain restlessness to his role that shows why he was a true movie star at the time. Lithgow made a name for himself playing creepy roles, but he's particularly effective here. His exterior normality is perfect for portraying characters with dark inner secrets.

Blow Out is a masterpiece of style and form, with a wickedly good story. It may be the product of a collage of influences, but it functions remarkably well on its own artistic merit. It's deserving of the Criterion treatment and I'm sure they'll do a terrific job on the final product. It's a terrific suspense thriller that made me stop and marvel; they don't really make films like this anymore.

GRADE: A-
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion does it again, May 20, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Had never heard of this film until Criterion announced this release. Having just seen Lithgow on Dexter, this intrigued me. Enjoyed all the other De Palma films I've seen, not the the biggest Travolta fan. For 81' this Blu-Ray is unreal, Criterion doesn't mess around with these slick transfers, a great film somehow gets better with this upgrade, must-have.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DePalma's Psychological Conspiracy Thriller!, November 4, 2007
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
Just like in 1980, when Brian DePalma, Master Of The Macabre, invited you to see the latest showing in fashion...in murder, in 1981 he invited you to listen to the sound of murder, conspiracy, paranoia, mistaken identity, a psychotic serial killer, and political corruption...in "Blow Out", written & directed by DePalma, and produced by George Litto.
Starting the film out with a B-grade slasher flick, brilliantly satirizing the heavily trafficked godawful sleazy marketing of a schoolbus full of gonzo slasher films, DePalma establishes from the outset that all is not as it appears to be (plus, he shows just how easy he could just as well do a cheap-a** slasher flick if he so chose, but would rather expose them for the low-brow form of film that they are). We soon learn that the slasher flick is a film that main character Jack Terri (John Travolta) is working as a sound man on; and, this is just one in a thousand B-rate horror films he has done for this company. A problem arises: The girl in the film has a terrible scream! It is like nails on a chalk board.
So, Jack has a new mission, and that is to find a good 'screamer' for the audio track of the film, plus some more background sounds as well, something fresh, something not used a thousand times already. So, late at night, Jack goes to a nearby park to record some fresh nature sounds for the film. Out of the blue, he hears a loud BANG with hints of an echo, then a car appears onscreen, careening off a bridge, and Jack is quick to dive into the murky water(s) to try and be of help. He see's that the driver (who we later find out was Governor McReiley, who was possibly gonna be the next President of the USA) is dead, but there is a woman inside, screaming for help. He rescues her, then at the hospital, is asked by high goverment officials to 'forget' that she was even there. And, to 'forget' that the whole 'incident' even took place. He is puzzled, but goes to Sally's (the girl that was in the car) room, and gets to know her, and invites her to have dinner with him.
As the film progresses, Jack and Sally (Nancy Allen) get to know each other better, Jack works on the tape he recorded of the accident, converting it to visual film that he pieced together from pictures of the accident from a tabloid newspaper, taken by a guy named Manny Carp (Dennis Franz). Well, it just so happens that Manny and Sally know each other, and Jack wants Sally to get the original film from Manny.
Meanwhile, there is a terrorfying madman, Burke (John Lithgow) on the loose, trying to cover up any and/or all loose ends to the 'conspiracy', and the last one involves doing away with Sally. He, by accident, then on purpose, becomes "The Liberty Bell Killer", killing women and carving a sign of the Liberty Bell into their stomach/groin area with an ice pick, so that way Sally's 'death' will look like a random of killings by the same serial killer.
Jack turns his tapes into the police (which he has a very painful memory with, for he used to be a soundman for them, and a guy he wired was exposed and killed, and Jack blamed himself), but later finds out the tapes are erased, making Jack sound like a conspiracy nut. All of his tapes in his office are erased as well. A 'Phil Donahue' type reporter named Donahue (Curt May) wants to meet with Jack and see his film mixed with the sound he recorded. Jack is hestitant. He decides to 'wire' Sally, and she goes to meet with Donahue, and Jack trails behind.
And, this is where I'll stop as far as plot goes, for I would never want to give away the ending to this for anything!
DePalma makes great use of MANY of his brilliant techniques in this, ranging from split screen, split dioptor, to spinning and whirling, crane tracking shots, to slow motion, making everything work to his advantage.
The story is quite a mix of "Blow Up" (but, where in "Blow Up", Antonioni's themes were how things lost meaning and/or relevance once out of context, DePalma shows just how important each and every little piece of a puzzle is important, whether in/out of context or not), "The Conversation" (where as Coppolla had a character 'think' he heard the sound of a murder, DePalma lets you know his character DID hear the sound of a murder), "Vertigo" (the hero has an incident from the past that is 'crippling' to him now, plus the whole 'saving the lady' theme), and the real life Chappaquiddick Incident (but, here we are shown that it WAS a cover up!). Showing (and exposing) just how corrupt and manipulating the film industry, the media, and politics are, this film will leave you utterly breathless, and cold, and in utter bewilderment to see how a Human life can be condensed to nothing more than a mere scream in a low budget horror film.
HIGHLY recommended!! Thank you! ;-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Tearson As The Barker, May 2, 2010
By 
David Baldwin (Philadelphia,PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
This is another DePalma film that teeters between homage or rip-off. In this case DePalma seems to be riffing on Antonioni's "Blow-Up". For a good three-quarters of the film it is a fairly mesmerizing political thriller. In the end, though, it kind of breaks down with an overlong chase sequence through the streets of my beloved Philly. There's alot to recommend here, though, notably John Travolta's performance as a Z-Movie sound man turned dogged detective and a creepy one by John Lithgow. I was about to enter college in the Summer of '81 and I have to say that DePalma perfectly captures the ambience of my hometown with the good, the bad, and the seedy. The irony may be lost on out-of-towners in that Travolta's office is located in an adult book store a stone's throw away from City Hall. Trivia note. Michael Tearson, whose name inexplicably appears in the end credits because of the blink you missed it nature of his role, was a rock DJ with extremely good taste when the jocks could spin their own platters without some focus group telling them what to play.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not-so-well-known classic, September 24, 2004
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
Arguably one of DePalma's best films, but definitely, and more importantly, one of Travolta's best. In my always humble opinion, this is on par with Travolta's performances in Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever (both of which earned him Oscar nominations).

Some will say I exaggerate, if only because this flick doesn't have the cult following that SNF and PF have established, but Travolta nails the gradually building paranoia and desperation of the character without taking it over the top (something he's sadly mastered in his many not-so-great performances). He also delivers the character's affection for the Nancy Allen character perfectly. His anguish in the final frames of the movie is almost heartbreaking.

However, even if you're not a Travolta fan (and I'm not entirely sure that's possible, even when he stinks), Blow Out is a great suspense/thriller. Definitely one of DePalma's best of the genre and generally much better than most of the insultingly bad big-budget junk that comes out of Hollywood these days.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, December 23, 2001
By 
This review is from: Blow Out (DVD)
Interesting but derivative thriller concerning a sound-effects guy (John Travolta) who becomes involved in a murder mystery when he accidentally records a car crash killing a would-be candidate for governor. He befriends the candidate's mistress (Nancy Allen) and they team up to provide evidence as to whether he was killed or died by accident. DePalma borrows heavily from other, superior sources ("Rear Window" and "The Conversation"), but he still makes this film fun to watch. It drags in some areas, but you're always intrigued and you're left wondering what's going to happen next. However, while DePalma's other 2 films, "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill" got loaded with features, "Blow Out" only has a trailer. I guess this is because it was the least successful of the three films, but movie buffs and casual viewers should still check out this one. (Trivia: Travolta and Allen already appeared together in another DePalma film: "Carrie.")
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 311 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Blow Out (The Criterion Collection)
Blow Out (The Criterion Collection) by Brian de Palma (DVD - 2011)
$29.95 $16.99
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.