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Blow Out

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Blow Out

Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen
Director: Brian De Palma
Rated: R
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: July 1981
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Suspense

*Also starring: John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May

Review by Steve Rhodes
3½ stars out of 4

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 participants.

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 happened.

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

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