De Palma is one of those filmmakers that I don’t particularly like, but I can’t stop watching his films. I love to gripe about him, and yet I keep coming back for more. I think that’s part me wanting to know what the hell everyone else sees in his films and part the fact that they are pretty intriguing on some level. Mostly stylistically. I won’t argue that DePalma is a downright fantastic visual filmmaker, but it’s pretty rare that the story he’s telling lives up to the visuals. In the case of Blow Out, I find parts of the story just plain sloppy and that makes it hard to take the suspense seriously through the finish.
I first saw Blow Out years ago on DVD and remember being none too impressed with the very blatant mashup of Antonioni’s Blowup and Coppola’s The Conversation, albeit with a bit of a giallo twist. But when I saw the Denver Film Center was screening a 35mm print for a DePalma series I jumped at the chance to see in on the big screen. My mind had been changed before by the theatrical experience, maybe here was my chance to see what’s so great about DePalma. While I may not be a believer just yet, I did come out with a bit more of an appreciation for what may very well be De Palma’s best film. It’s not my favorite mind you, that will always be The Untouchables, but from a technical perspective I think Blow Out is the epitome of De Palma the auteur.