Blow Out (1981)

Aka: Personal Effects


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Mystery - Thriller | 107 minutes
  • RT

This stylish Brian DePalma thriller plays off the theme of the unsuspecting witness who discovers a crime and is thereby put in grave danger, but with a novel twist. Jack is a sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he doesn't know whom he can trust.

While outdoors recording sound effects for a movie, audio technician Jack Terri hears a tire blowout and a car crash. Before the car sinks into the river, he manages to save the female passenger from drowning. Because the other passenger was a presidential candidate, Jack suspects that the "accident" was a political murder. Afterwards, Jack falls in love with Sally, the woman he rescued, and learns that she's been in cahoots with Manny, a sleazy photographer who's operating a blackmail scheme. As part of their scam, Manny photographs Sally with important men in what appear to be compromising situations. Jack star...
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ts to wonder whether he's being paranoid or whether things are not quite what they seem. Then the assassin turns his attention to Jack and Sally, and Jack has to use every special effects trick in the book to keep them both alive.
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Brian De Palma's homage to Michelangelo Antonioni's classic art movie Blow-Up (1966) blends suspense and political paranoia when a Philadelphia soundman inadvertently records a murder. Former police technician Jack Terri (John Travolta) makes his living doing sound for slasher flicks. While recording new outdoor effects one night, Jack witnesses a couple's car careen off a bridge into a river, but he can save only the female occupant, Sally (Nancy Allen). Jack begins to suspect something when he learns that her dead companion was a Presidential hopeful. Re-playing his tape over and over, Jack thinks that he hears...
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a gun shot before the crash-causing tire blow-out. When sleazy photographer Manny Karp (Dennis Franz) comes forward with photos of the accident, Jack discovers the real reason that the naïve Sally was in the car -- and also a way to prove his auditory suspicions through motion pictures. Even with all his surveillance talent, however, Jack cannot see (or hear) how dangerous the big picture really is until it's too late. Taking a break from horror films, De Palma turned his interests in technology and voyeurism toward more politically loaded subject matter at the dawn of the Reagan era; the film's red, white and blue mise-en-scène, "Liberty Day" celebration climax, and conspiracy surrounding political "dirty tricks" suggest that American politics are still rotten, seven years after Watergate, . Although Blow Out earned some favorable notice, particularly for Travolta's first "adult" performance, De Palma's downbeat film did not go over well with 1981 summer audiences. Rather than blockbuster escapism, Blow Out instead harks back to 1970s political thrillers like The Parallax View (1974), using cinematic fireworks to tell an unsettling story about one man's struggle against unstoppable corruption.
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Wanneer Jack, een geluidsman voor B-films, op een avond buiten geluiden aan het opnemen is voor zijn films, is hij er getuige van dat een auto in het water belandt. Jack weet

Critic Consensus :With a story inspired by Antonioni's Blow Up and a style informed by the high-gloss suspense of Hitchcock, DePalma's Blow Out is raw, politically informed, and littered with film references.

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