BLOW OUT from 1981, one of Brian De Palma's best pictures, stars John
Travolta as an "earwitness" to a murder. An ex-soundman for corrupt police
investigations, Jack (Travolta) now makes his living capturing sounds for
B-movies in which screams are the most called for commodity.
Filmed in frequently garish colors by Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos
Zsigmond (CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND), the movie features more long
shots than close-ups which makes us feel more like eavesdroppers than
This conspiratorial thriller of a story, written by De Palma, is such a
classic Oliver Stone type of tale that it's surprising Stone hasn't decided
to do a remake of the movie. The plot concerns a governor whose car goes
over a bridge during a "freak accident," or so claims the news reports.
Actually, there was an unreported hooker in the car, and the "accident" was
caused by one of the governor's tires being shot out. Jack, who happened to
be taping nature sounds nearby, recorded the sound of a gunshot just before
the tire blew out. Since Jack is persona non grata with the police after
helping put some of the dirty ones away, they ignore his evidence. They
don't want the deceased governor's family upset by learning what really
Nancy Allen plays the hooker. It's not easy to tell if Allen is a ditz or
is playing a ditz. Except for a recurring part in the ROBOCOP series, her
career went nowhere after this role. John Lithgow has fun hamming it up as
the bad guy, a rogue killer who is a constant overachiever.
If the movie feels familiar, it should. It is loosely based on Michelangelo
Antonioni's best known movie, BLOWUP. Of the two, BLOW OUT is the more
engaging and entertaining.
BLOW OUT runs 1:48. It is rated R for violence, language, brief sexuality
and brief nudity and would be acceptable for teenagers.
The film is available now on DVD and video tape.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes