Share This

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 30, 2021

Movie Review - Blowout

Blowout (1981)
Directed by the great Brian De Palma

Jack Terry (John Travolta) is a movie sound effects technician from Philadelphia for horrible, exploitive b-movies that were the rage at the time of filming.  

Travolta's character is out late one night, on a bridge, recording owls and other night sounds for his job, when he witnesses an accident. It appears a car has a blowout, swerves off another bridge, and plunges into the river. Travolta dives in and rescues a girl (Sally) inside.  Later he discovers that the car's dead driver was a potential presidential candidate.

When he reviews the audio he recorded that night, he believes he actually captured audio evidence of an assassination of the presidential hopeful. A conspiracy takes center stage as Travolta's character begins to investigate what happened and his life is increasingly in danger.

The supporting cast includes John Lithgow and Dennis Franz. The film's tagline in advertisements was, "Murder has a sound all of its own".

Originally the movie received a few glowing reviews, but not across the board. The movie didn't do well at the box office initially, either.  But in 1994, director Quentin Tarantino noted how it was one of his favorite movies and it was largely why he cast Travolta in "Pulp Fiction".  Presto, the movie was born again to fresh eyes who say it has many merits. 

The striking and stylish visuals were filmed mostly at night. The main character of Jack and crash survivor Sally are well developed and wounded.  I have read some people consider this one of Travolta's best performances.

Interesting bit of trivia: during editing two reels of footage were stolen and had to be reshot to finish the film.

"And yet, the reputation of "Blow Out" has continued to grow in the 40 years since it first came out. While the technological aspects have certainly changed, the story has not aged at all—in an era in which people are more willing than ever to find conspiracy in everything, it now feels more in sync with the times than ever before and even the infamous finale feels like less of a shock. It remains a work of stunning cinematic craft from one of our greatest, if too often undervalued, filmmakers and while he has made any number of other great movies over the years, this is the one he deserves to be remembered for above all."  Peter Sobczynski 

My thoughts: I saw this when it was first in the theater and it stuck with me. I always thought it deserved more credit than it received then.  This is a wound tight thriller that has aged incredibly well as a conspiracy theory and suspenseful tale.  De Palma drew out depths from Travolta that were hidden before this.  I feel it is well worth a viewing and is a good thriller movie without a bunch of gore. It has a web of intrigue, well done characters, and a honed plot.  I recommend this movie for suspense thriller fans.

Movie Trailer:

Bookmark and Share


Related Posts with Thumbnails