Blow Out. Film Review


DIRECTOR: Brian De Palma     

SCREENPLAY: Brian De Palma

STARRING: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz

CERTIFICATE: 18        

RUNNING TIME: 108 Mins       

FORMAT: BluRay (Region B)

Reviewed by Guy Adams

De Palma’s next movie after 1980’s DRESSED TO KILL (reviewed HERE) sees the uneven one channelling BLOWUP and THE CONVERSATION with his usual side-helping of exploitative seasoning.

John Travolta stars as a John Travolta (here called Jack Terry) a movie sound technician who accidentally records evidence of an assassination while capturing wind effects for a low budget horror picture he’s working on. Nancy Allen is back, still making the same poor fictional career choices and John Lithgow, a regular cast member in De Palma movies is doing his usual sterling work as a homicidal loon.

Unlike DRESSED TO KILL, BLOW OUT foundered at the box office as word of mouth about its ending put people off. As is often the way in cinema, what dissuaded contemporaneous audiences from parting with their ticket money is what has lent the movie a cult reputation thereafter. It’s unquestionably one of De Palma’s best, despite the obvious debts it owes other movies. As for the ending… well, naturally to discuss it would be to ruin it but it’s a complex thing certainly, and one that this reviewer swings in opinion on.

Like all of De Palma’s work there as many misses as there are hits but the overall score is high enough that it rewards watching. Arrow’s disc looks and sounds lovely with the usual surfeit of special features.