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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Blow Out': A Gripping Thriller About a Sound Man Who Inadvertently Records the Assassination of a Prominent Politician

Movie poster for Blow Out

Blow Out (1981) is a gripping mystery thriller that follows the story of Jack Terry (John Travolta), a Philadelphia-based sound technician working on low-budget horror films. While recording outdoor sound effects near a lake one night, Jack inadvertently captures audio footage of a car accident that results in the death of the Governor of Pennsylvania.

In a heroic attempt to intervene, Jack is able to rescue a female escort named Sally Bedina (Nancy Allen) from the submerged car, though he is unable to save the life of the Governor. As Jack subsequently delves deeper into the incident, he uncovers a conspiracy to eliminate the Governor as a presidential candidate in the upcoming national election. His inquiry is further complicated by the intrusion of a shady private detective (Dennis Franz) as well as a rogue assassin named Burke (John Lithgow), who is secretly tracking Jack and Sally’s every move.

Written and directed by Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill, The Untouchables), Blow Out is a gripping thriller that masterfully blends elements of suspense, mystery and political commentary. De Palma’s direction is stylish and visually striking, while Travolta delivers a compelling performance as a determined protagonist driven by a desire for truth and justice. An ode to Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blowup, Blow Out has become a genuine cult classic while serving as an underrated highlight of De Palma’s lengthy career.


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