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Blow Out

USA 1981. Dir. Brian De Palma. 107 min. DCP

De Palma cemented his reputation as the master protégé of Hitchcock with this suspense-drenched reworking of Antonioni’s Blow-Up for a paranoid, post-Watergate America. Relocating the setup from swinging ’60s London to nocturnal ’80s Philadelphia — and swapping the medium of photography for audio recording — it stars a never-better John Travolta as a slasher-movie soundman who believes he's inadvertently recorded a political assassination. Aided by the call girl who is a possible eyewitness (Nancy Allen), he begins unravelling a to-the-top conspiracy that puts them both in the crosshairs of a maniacal hit man. With plenty of nods to De Palma's cinematic idols, Blow Out is a pastiche-laden thriller that revels in a new era of noir-like nihilism! “American history trapped in The Twilight Zone ... [De Palma's] best and most original” (Roger Ebert).


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REVIEWS

"A great movie."

Pauline Kael | full review

★★★★ "A forgotten gem."

Empire | full review

"There's no denying Blow Out's importance in the underrated director's filmography."

Slant | full review