The Criterion Collection for years have been releasing the best versions of movies on DVD and Blue Ray. They are hands down the ultimate praise a film can receive,and while many claim the Oscar to be the ultimate recognition. Having the work and praise that goes into a Criterion edition. Shows that it was put together by film lovers for film lovers. This section is going to be dedicated to some of the great movies in this growing collection.
Blow Out (1981)
Cast: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow
Writer and Director: Brian DePalma
Jack Terry (John Travolta) is a sound designer for a low budget horror studio. One night while recording sound effects for a feature film he hears a gunshot and sees a car drive into the river. He quickly jumps in and sees that the driver is already dead, but the lady in the back seat is very much alive. After he saves her, he talks to the police and politicians who want very much for him to forget her. This is because the dead man in the driver’s seat was in line to be the next Governor of Philadelphia. Knowing damn well that there is a conspiracy going on. Jack enlists the help of the girl he saved named Sally(Nancy Allen) to find out the truth.
Even though this movie is over twenty four years old. It still packs in more thrills and suspense then a lot of movies do today. What is does best is that is plays with our perceptions of what we think will happen in a movie like this. For example the very first ten minutes of the movie appears to be that of the slasher variety. But played to really low standards. It’s then revealed to be just some test footage of a movie that our main character is working on. When we first see the accident, we believe what others tell him about the car having a blow out and that’s how it crashed. However when Jack is back at his place and he replays the tape. We can see things more from his perspective and hear the gunshot before the blow out of the tire. It’s also great to watch a movie where the main character has to try different tasks in order to solve the mystery. One scene has him linking the sounds of the crash to pictures that were taking by animating stills of them. Plus seeing how sound was edited before the advent of computers is extremely fascinating in it’s own right.
I urge you to please avoid any trailers of this because it gives away too many spoliers in my opinion. This is one of the best thrillers of all time, with a wonderful performance by John Travolta in the lead role. This was made after “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever” and at the time, the guy was a big box office draw, but people sometimes forget that the guy can act. Nancy Allen as Sally brings in a lot of heart for a character that could easily been written off as just a good looking ditzy dame. This was her second team up with Travolta after 1976’s “Carrie“(also directed by DePalma). Since this movie uses sound as the main plot point. I would watch this on a really good sound system or with your headphones. For this review I rewatched it with my headphones and got a lot more info then I have before.
I know that Brian DePalma hasn’t made a good movie since “Mission Impossible” in 1996. But I still urge you to check out the ones he did in the late 70’s and mid 80’s. The man has done some pretty fascinating things, and I think “Blow Out” is a certified masterpiece.
DIRECTOR–APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION
- New, restored digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Brian De Palma, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- New hour-long interview with De Palma, conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach
- New video interview with star Nancy Allen
- De Palma’s 1967 feature Murder à la Mod
- New video interview with cameraman Garrett Brown on the Steadicam shots featured in the film within the film
- On-set photos by photographer Louis Goldman
- Original theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Sragow and Pauline Kael’s original New Yorker reviewNew cover by Eric Skillman