DATELINE: Pre-Terrorist Terror
Brian DePalma’s classic movie of 1981 looks like it’s been ripped from the headlines of 2016.
Blow Out features political assassinations, serial killers, and movie references, including many to the master Hitchcock.
However, today’s audiences maybe puzzled at how De Palma was able to use the movie’s climactic scene. In it, John Travolta as the protagonist drives his car down the middle of the street during Philadelphia’s Liberty Day parade. He knocks over policeman, parade marchers, a marching band, and pedestrians. In today’s terrorist-conscious world, he would’ve been cuffed and shot by the police, but not necessarily in that order.
The film cleverly uses the notion of an undervalued movie sound effects man of sexploitation movies. Out one night making sound recordings, he happens upon a combination JFK assassination of a presidential hopeful and a Chappaquiddick car crash.
The characters in this little screenplay seem incredibly obtuse. However, Nancy Allen as the call girl with a heart of gold is something to behold.
Not a great actress, she managed to appear and her husband De Palma’s movies as well as some of the greatest box office hits of the 70s and 80s, including the Terminator movies (or was that her blonde body double Linda Hamilton?) and the RoboCop movies.
Yet, Miss Allen never received the respect or accolades due her. And John Travolta during those years was thought of as of Saturday night fevered comic actor.
The movie also features John Lithgow as the combination serial killer/slash/political assassin. He is suitably creepy.
If you can overlook the incredibly stupid motivation of the characters, you have an extremely clever Hitchcock like thriller. Just keep telling yourself, “it’s only a movie.”