BLOW OUT (1981) 

John Travolta
Nancy Allen
John Lithgow
Dennis Franz
Peter Boyden
Curt May
John Aquino
John McMartin

Brian De Palma


Time: 108 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

SYNOPSIS: A soundman accidentally records the evidence that proves a car "accident" was murder, and consequently finds himself in danger from those who wish to bury him and his evidence.

BOTTOM LINE: DePalma blends paranoia and politics in this strange and heady conspiracy thriller that's so inconceivable you'd laugh if you weren't already completely intrigued. In one of his first lead efforts, Travolta proves his star quality as a solitary sound man who becomes a reluctant hero after he witnesses and records a fatal fender-bender that proves to be anything but accidental. Driven by guilt from a past mistake and his growing affection for the young "lady" (Allen) he pulled out of the car, Jack is determined to prove the presidential candidate who died in the crash was murdered...and he has the tape to verify his claim.

Travolta gives a weighty and intense performance, despite some of the outrageous situations his character is forced to endure. His co-stars almost ruin this complex and suspenseful tale. For a street-smart broad, Allen is too ditzy and naive to be believed or to have survived so long. To make matters worse, Lithgow is so intensely over-the-top his ruthless killer is more silly than threatening. What keeps this film flowing smoothly is the crackerjack direction, first-rate editing and a plot that continues to surprise until the very end.

Travolta and DePalma also ensure our interest by making Jack a man with secrets and regrets, a hero who's tired of living in fear and bored with his current life path. He's not what you expect and determined to be heard, which is why you can't wait to see what he's going to do next. While this film owes much to Coppola's THE CONVERSATION, DePalma manages to instill enough of his own style and spirit to make this conspiracy thriller worth watching.

"Ya know, the only trouble I ever got into was when I was TOO careful!"

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