Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Blow Out


Brian De Palma has always wanted to be Alfred Hitchcock (except when he wants to be George Romero), and when he’s good, he comes close. This is one of the good ones, maybe his best. It’s good enough that I almost forgive him for the awful mess he made of The Bonfire of the Vanities. (My own favorite of his is The Phantom of the Paradise, for its flat-out over-the-top Grand Guignol flamboyance.) His main problem, it seems to me, and the reason he’s never joined the greats, is that he doesn’t really have a voice and vision of his own. Excellent as this movie is, it’s still a take-off on a film by a better director than him, Blowup. Antonioni explored the elusive nature of reality through the visual realm of photography, De Palma is content just to make a good thriller using the medium of sound recording. I’m just carping, though. It’s a real winner.