Brian De Palma is a difficult director to praise. It is much easier to praise a single work of his than it is to praise his work in general, perhaps because there have been nearly as many failures as there have been successes. But when he makes a good film, it is truly magnificent. Blow Out is one of the best demonstrations of this, and one of the least flashy.
The subtlety of the film does not alter the fact that it does not reside in the confines of any one genre. Untraditional and exciting, Blow Out also provided John Travolta to play an adult role and emerge from the shadow of some of his earlier successes. It also reunited the actor with De Palma, and his Carrie co-star, Nancy Allen. These two give spectacular performances in this twisted and darkly pessimistic tale about a sound effects specialist going up against a powerful political assassination cover-up.
Travolta stars as a sound effects guy named Jack, who mostly works on sleazy B-films. When he is recording in the park at night, Jack inadvertently witnesses and records the accident which results in the death of a possible presidential candidate. Jack is able to save the passenger of the car, a young woman named Sally Allen), whose presence in the car is kept secret at the respect of the political figure’s family.
When Jack listens to the accident, which is said to have been cause by a tire blow out, he hears a bang before the tire blows. Believing that this is a gunshot, Jack decides to try and take on the figure who embodies the cover-up (John Lithgow), using Sally as his way to the truth.
This director approved newly restored digital transfer of Blow Out also has a second disc specifically designated for special features. There is a new hour-long video interview with De Palma, conducted by director Noah Baumbach, as well as a new video interview with Nancy Allen and cameraman Garrett Brown. There are also on-set photographs by Louis Goldman and De Palma’s 1967 feature, Murder a la Mod.