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Blow Out (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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"Noah Baumbach Interviews Brian De Palma" features the New York filmmaker talking to De Palma for almost an hour. He talks about the genesis of Blow Out. He also touches upon using the Steadicam for the first time, the film's score, various key scenes, and recounts some fantastic filming anecdotes in this excellent conversation between two filmmakers.
"Nancy Allen Interview" features the veteran actress talking about meeting Travolta for the first time on Carrie (Special Edition) and her impressions of him. She recalls her initial reaction to the script for Blow Out and how she approached her character. Interestingly, Allen wasn't going to do the film but Travolta wanted her to do it.
"Garrett Brown Interview" features the inventor of the Steadicam system recalling how he shot the cheesy horror film at the beginning of Blow Out. He also talks about and demonstrates how one works. Brown comes across as an engaging and candid guy.
"Louis Goldman Photographs" is a collection of stills taken on the set and for publicity purposes.
In a real treat for De Palma fans, his 1967 experimental film Murder a la Mod is included in its entirety. Like Blow Out, the film is a thriller that takes place in the filmmaker world. It is fascinating to see the director's emerging style still in its infancy and how the film is very much of its time.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.
Blow Out is a haunting exception. Yes, it has clear antecedents in Antonioni's Blowup and Coppola's paranoid classic, The Conversation. But it is unfair to judge Blow Out by its similarities to these films. One need only pay minimal attention to realize DePalma has his own goals in mind. No mere retread of the standard paranoid political thriller, Blow Out is a bravura exercise in nuanced, multi-layered story telling.
Low budget movie soundman Jack Terry (John Travolta) is in the right place at the wrong time - while out recording some nature sounds for a B slasher flick (in which DePalma seems to poke fun at some of his own earlier work), he catches the sounds of an auto accident. In an incident reminiscent of Chappaquiddick, a car driven by a presidential candidate suffers a tire blowout and careens off a nearby bridge. The candidate dies, but Terry manages to rescue his "lady friend", a party girl named Sally (Nancy Allen). Key to the story is his recording, which seems to contain a double-bang - perhaps the blowout preceded by a gunshot? Naturally the story leads Terry into a web of intrigue featuring slimy political operatives, corrupt cops, and nefarious CIA henchmen.
Blow Out's visual style has drawn criticism from some quarters as being too flashy. Ridiculous! The camera movements are precise and deliberate; designed to communicate story points with great efficiency.Read more ›
With "Blow Out" DePalma managed to elicit one of John Travolta's finest performances of his career reaching beneath the surface performance that Travolta often presents to get a sense of genuine emotion. A skewed paranoid thriller that uses the classic film "Blow Up" as its touch point, "Blow Out" focuses on a sound engineer named Jack (Travolta) who believes he recorded evidence of murder. Jack is determined to find out the truth but puts himself and Sally (Nancy Allen)a woman passenger in the car who survived and directly in the path of an assassin (John Lithgow).
The Criterion Blu-ray personally supervised by director DePalma is a huge improvement over the previous regular DVD edition. Fine detail is a huge improvement while clarity and contrast look much improved throughout. The film also went an extensive restoration and clean up which is most notable in the lack of scratches that were evident in the previous DVD presentation. This is a film that will never look perfect (some of the shots are extremely grainy but that's due to the film stock and the lighting choices for the film--it's a typical early 80's film but it looks the best it has ever looked here).
Audio sounds quite strong but keep in mind that this is presented in its original 2.0 NOT in a remixed or repurposed 5.1 mix. We get optional English subtitles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kind of a nostalgic movie, just something I wanted to check out. Thank you!!Published 1 month ago by jeffery s cooper
Don't buy the MGM copy. It looks awful. Instead, hold out for the Criterion. And if you can't get that, pass.Published 2 months ago by Kasper
Great thriller, a classic Brian DePalma film. Travolta is terrific!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of the best political thrillers and one of Brian de Palma's best films, Blow Out features John Travolta in top notch performance as a sound engineer for an independent film... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jon Corelis
Classic Depalma, lovingly restored in full HD by the Criterion kids!Published 8 months ago by r_duke
There are a vocal minority of cinephiles (like Pauline Kael and Quentin Tarantino) who see Brian De Palma as one of the all-time great directors, and while I don’t quite share that... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Erik Bateson
It has been many years since I have watched this film. But I remember it very well and thought it was John Travolta's best film. Read morePublished 12 months ago by kelly Groce