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Blow Out [UK] Blu-ray Review

blow-out-uk-blu-ray-coverUnited-Kingdom-Flag-Orb-Icon-32px

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certificate: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 197 Mins.
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: May 27, 2013
  • List Price: £19.99 (Std. Blu-ray)/£24.99 (Ltd. Ed. Steelbook)

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Blow-Out-UK-BD_02

Brian De Palma’s (The Untouchables; Scarface) 1981 film Blow Out is his homage to Michelangelo Antonioni’s (Red Desert) art-house classic Blow-Up. In Antonioni’s film, a London photographer unwittingly takes a shot of a murder, in De Palma’s film, former police detective turned slasher film sound technician Jack Terry (John Travolta) stumbles into recording the murder of a presidential candidate while documenting sounds at night for his current film project. This sends him into a whirlwind of political intrigue involving a woman (Nancy Allen), a dubious divorce private investigator, and a crazed killer (John Lithgow) out to kill the woman in order to cover up a scandal.

Aspects of the film share much with Coppola’s own rendition of Blow-Up, 1974’s The Conversation, especially in its overall sense of paranoia, distrust in the political system, and malaise, which is in keeping with the late 70s/early 80s time period of the film as well, given the deep financial recession, fuel shortages, hostage crises, and political scandals such as Watergate and Chappaquiddick, which the film obviously mimics.

Blow Out‘s visual style has De Palma written all over it with its flashy camera styles, angular pans, split screen close-ups and colorful lighting techniques. Violence is kept to a minimum, but the visceral nature of murder and blood is often implied rather than outright shown, which makes Blow Out all the stronger for it.

Blow Out arrived with mixed reviews, some stellar, some flat-out panning the film, but the box office response was dismal. Only over the years has the film grown in its influence and adoration amongst devoted fans and critics, not the least among them such lauded filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Blow-Out-UK-BD_01

Blow Out arrives with a new, restored digital transfer supervised and restored by Brian De Palma. Originally shot on Eastman 100T 5247 35mm film stock, Blow Out is not the greatest looking film to begin with and does suffer from some of the deficiencies associated with this stock still, such as some very slightly off-black shadows, some areas where grain pushes into noise, and some less than natural flesh tones. There’s some softness that is partly due to the stock and possibly due to some filters applied during production that is just unavoidable. Still, the film looks better than expected and given that the director was directly involved in the restoration and transfer, it probably looks as good as it can and ever will with current home video technology. It also has some nicely nuanced shadow details in all but the absolute darkest of scenes, where it can collapse into absolute grittiness.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Blow-Out-UK-BD_03

The original audio mix is supplied with an English LPCM 2.0 stereo (48kHz/16-bit) track. Dialogue sounds a bit boxy, but the score from composer Pino Donaggio spreads nicely across the stereo field and has a decent bit of range and ambience.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

Blow-Out-UK-BD_04

The interviews with the cast and crew are very much welcome here and, as usual, Arrow offers up a solid collector’s booklet for all those who like swag. There is also a Steelbook edition for those looking for an extra premium packaging option.

The supplements:

  • Black and White in Color (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:27:41) – An interview with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.
  • Multitracking Blow Out (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:28:06) – An interview with composer Pino Donaggio about his work with director Brian De Palma.
  • Rag Doll Memories (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:28) – Nancy Allen offers her thoughts on filming Blow Out.
  • Return to Philadelphia (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:18:37) – An interview with producer George Litto.
  • Original Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24)
  • Image Gallery (1080p/24)
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Atkinson, and a discussion between Brian De Palma and Quentin Tarantino, illustrated with with original archive stills and promotional materials.
  • Standard Blu-ray edition features both original and newly commissioned reversible artwork.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Blow-Out-UK-BD_05

Arrow Films gives this stylish cult classic from Brian De Palma, who oversaw it restoration and transfer, a chance to be re-examined by a wider audience, once and for all. It’s a thrill ride worth experiencing.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00B5DKYDO[/amazon-product]

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

 

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