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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Blow Out (1981)



Reviews and Comments

An early thriller from director Brian De Palma, Blow Out is a foreshadower of the work that would come. De Palma's thrillers have been both criticized and praised for their Hitchcockian feel. I'm one who praises; De Palma doesn't just steal from Hitchcock's work, he builds upon it, taking many of the same themes and injecting them with his own visual style. I wish, however, that he were better at wrapping his stories up. Blow Out's climactic scenes are poorly handled and somewhat anti-climactic.

One of the things I find fascinating about De Palma's work is how closely he pays attention to time. In Blow Out, he employs a tactic he would use again in his later work: he focuses on the time during which a crime takes place, then revisits it time and again, revealing a little more with each replay, until all the pieces fall into place. While this tactic isn't exploited as deeply or creatively as it was in the otherwise disappointing Snake Eyes, it's compelling just the same.