DVD Review: BLOW OUT

Criterion Collection
Release date: April 26th, 2011
MSRP: $28.98

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden

The name Brian De Palma holds little meannig to many younger filmgoers. Carilto’s Way and Scarface seem a lifetime ago and more recent films, such as Black Dahlia, have been underwhelming.

But one need only watch BLOW OUT to see just how good a dirctor De Palma could be.

Jack Terry is a sound engineer for a small-time studio in Philadelphia. Late one night, he is working on a project outside and witnesses, and records, a car accident. In the car is a governor aspiring to be president and a young lady (Not Mrs. Governor). Only the lady survives, thanks to Jack.

The authorities thank him, then suggest he forget it ever happened. The press plays it up as a tragic accident, but Jack hears a gunshot, as well as a tire blowing out, on the recording. His curiousity turns to determination and he looks to find the truth. Not long after, he comes across Manny (Dennis Franz) that has video footage.

BLOW OUT is my favorite of De Palma’s films. It is by no means perfect, there is a subplot regarding the serial killing of women that, while connected to the main plot, seems uneccessary. But the overall story is strong and the aforementioned stuff does not really hurt things.

Visually, BO is amazing. The entire lead-up for the crash is fantastic, the cinematography is world-class and presents shots that were revolutionary at the time.

The extras are an enjoyable mix of old and new. We get three interviews with key particiapnts: De Palma, Nancy Allen and cameraman Garrett Brown. All three are interesting and do a nice job of giving us an idea of what went into making the film and what was going on at the time.

I feel that BLOW OUT is a must-own for fans of the crime genre. De Palma delivers a smart, tight film that delivers on all fronts.