Review of Blow Out (1981)

Moving picture, 107 minutes

Seen in 2015.

A “sound man” fallen to working on cheap slasher movies is the fifth person to witness a fatal car crash. The first, set to be the next US president, dies in the crash. The second, and the sound man, are asked to disappear. The third one takes his camera and runs, while the fourth starts pretending to be a slasher.

Kitsch. A mixture in equal parts of political crime techno-thriller, gory horror, obtuse John Travolta romance, and the attempted philosophical cinema of Blow-Up (1966), The Conversation (1974) et al.

Poorly thought out and very well executed. Moments of jarring bathos are unavoidable, and De Palma slams right into them with the studious artificiality of a late Alfred Hitchcock, arranging several complex scenes to look very good while being laughably hard to relate to. It’s an improvement over Dressed to Kill (1980) on every level, but built right on top of the same perverse preoccupations.

moving picture fiction