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08.19.2017
Blow Out (1981)
Movie Review by The Mortician
08.15.13

Blow Out (1981) Brian DePalma thriller that starts out with a brilliant slasher movie homage to the era! POV shots...naked ladies in windows...knife maniac on the rampage...I'm telling you, I would've loved to have seen an entire movie like this from the famous director! Sadly, after a few glorious moments, it cuts to a screening room and we meet John Travolta and the "movie within a movie" director working on the final sound mix on this bad boy...a female scream is needed, of course, as the maniac attacks a naked babe in the shower. Travolta is asked to get some better sound effects for the movie (wind, rain, etc.) so he goes out to an isolated area in the middle of the night to record what he needs. While doing this, he accidentally tapes a car screeching off a nearby bridge and plunging into the water. Travolta dives into the water and saves the girl inside, who happens to be a prostitute played by Nancy Allen. The driver of the car dies but Allen is taken to the hospital. Turns out the driver was a politician, and here the movie borrows heavily from real life (Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick incident) and moves into the area of political cover-ups, double-crosses, and Travolta and Allen being on the run from renegade psychopath John Lithgow, in an early role. Lithgow is trying to get rid of any witnesses to the incident as Travolta puts together a wild conspiracy theory based on his sound recording and some photographs that mysteriously surface from photographer Dennis Franz (also in an early role), who just happened to be hanging out and taking pictures at the isolated location when the car crashed. This movie keeps your interest and has all the classic DePalma moves (split screen, slow motion, Pino Donaggio score, etc.) and I loved seeing all the old school era way of making movies---using reel-to-reel Nagras, developing film, syncing it all, just as a film buff. The way computers have changed this process is totally amazing! Anyway, as for the movie, it the suspense builds and the two leads end up in the expected confrontation with Lithgow, and the movie delivers the goods in a satisfactory way. Loved the ending, where the shower scream they were looking for ends up being used from a real murder that Travolta accidentally records, I thought that was a nice touch. Worth checking out if you like DePalma, suspense thrillers, and movies about the process of moviemaking. My biggest beef with this one is Nancy Allen. While she looks great, as always, her choice to use such an annoying voice for her prostitute character got really aggravation...Allen has a great "real life" voice and her use of this horrendous, high-pitched, nasal Nanny voice really made her scenes difficult to endure. Otherwise, this one is a nice time waster.

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