Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blow Out (1981)

Blow Out was sandwiched between the release of Dressed To Kill and Scarface - and compared to those two films,Blow Out is positively restrained considering that it was made by Brian De Palma,a director who has a reputation for being excessive at times. That's not to say Blow Out doesn't have it moments of excess though....

John Travolta stars as Jack Terry,a sound technician for a low budget film company,tasked with finding the 'perfect scream'.Whilst recording potential sound effects he witnesses a car accident - a blow out. After rescuing Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen), Jack realises that the sound recording he made of the car accident points to something far more sinister....and that he and Sally's lives are now in danger as they have become unwittingly involved in a conspiracy....

This is a tremendous film,with De Palma firing on all cylinders -  there's the typically wonderful use of splitscreen and misdirection,but also ramps up the suspense through sound as Travolta becomes increasingly obsessed (and paranoid?) with uncovering the truth. The film does go off the rails towards the end with an unnecessary setpiece as Travolta races to the rescue in his jeep,but thankfully gets back on track during its final scenes,notably the cruelly ironic ending (perhaps one of Travolta's finest performances).

Featuring solid support from a gleefuly sinister John Lithgow and a sleazy turn from Dennis Franz,Blow Out isn't quite up there with the likes of Dressed To Kill or Carlito's Way for me,but it's certainly one of the better thrillers from the 80's. 8/10

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