By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on July 2, 2011)
Blow Out – Criterion Collection Blu-ray
This 1981 thriller is one of Brian de Palma’s finest efforts. John Travolta stars as a sound man who works on schlocky horror films. While making a field recording of ambient nature sounds, he unexpectedly captures audio of a fatal car crash involving a political candidate, which may not have been an “accident”. The proof lies buried somewhere in his recording-which naturally becomes a coveted item by some dubious characters. His life begins to unravel synchronously with the secrets on his tape. The director employs an arsenal of influences (from Antonioni to Hitchcock), but succeeds in making this one his most “de Palma-esque” with some of the deftest set-pieces he’s ever done (particularly in the climax). Criterion has done this visual stunner proud with their Blu-ray. The extras include in-depth interviews with de Palma and co-star Nancy Allen.