Blow-Up - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blow-Up Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 15, 2007
There is this one camera sequence that I love. Towards the end of the film the David Hemmings character goes back to the park to find the body gone. From his knees he looks up to the rustling leaves and the camera cuts to a shot of the leaves, apparently from his perspective but then the camera slowly pans down to Hemmings now standing in completely different spot. Gives me the willies every time.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2012
A well to-do artist finds that being well to-do doesn't forego the suffering latent in the job description: there are endless streams of pretty young things to despoil("they don't leave me alone!"), the unruly lower classes ("they can't get anything right!"), and maybe there was that murder he filmed in the park yesterday ... Antonioni musings on the act of artistic creation are similar to Frankenstein wherein what was formed might come back to kill you. The cast is very good, and the filming astounding for its time period. The 60's come off looking better than perhaps in any other film. Swinging London before Austin Powers laffed at it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2011
A lot of people say that this is Michelangelo Antonioni's best movie and also far superior to Brian DePalma's semi re-imagining. I would have to say that I disagree severely on both accounts. While this has an interesting basic concept and some of those great longshots that Antonioni is famous for, the overall execution and plot doesn't really go anywhere and the characters are anything but interesting to watch. If you love sleazy/cocky British photographers, then you'd be in heaven. However, I found no interest in his conflict. I would say that by far my favorite part about the movie is the fact that you see the attempted murder without even knowing you do, that is pretty clever.
Now Brian DePalma took this idea and perfected it, while also putting his spin on it. Blow Out is by far the better work here in just about every way possible. Better acting and characters, imagery and shot technique that is completely revolutionary and memorable to say the least, but most importantly it has one of the greatest plot structures of any thriller. This movie is all over the place and ultimately blocks itself in.
Super Reviewer
½ February 10, 2011
Antonioni's Blow-Up was the biggest hit of the Italian director's career, the superficial elements of the fashion world, Swinging London and orgies on purple paper ensuring its commercial success.

Models such as Veruschka (who appears in the film), Twiggy and fashion photographers at the time have complained about its unrealistic depiction of the industry and claimed that its central character, Thomas (played by the late David Hemmings) was clearly based on David Bailey.

To look at Blow-Up as an analysis of the fashion business in the Sixties is to misunderstand the film's intentions. In any case, when watching this film it may be difficult to tell what its all about if you're unfamiliar with Antonioni's films but it obviously has little to do with the fashion world which is merely the setting for the story and nothing more.

Antonioni made the clearest statement of his motivation as a filmmaker at the end of Beyond the Clouds when he talked about his belief that reality is unattainable as it is submerged by layers of images which are only versions of reality.

This is a rather pretentious way of saying that everyone perceives reality in their own way and ultimately see only what they want to see.

With this philosophy in mind, Blow-Up is probably Antonioni's most personal film.

Thomas' hollow, self-obsessed world is shattered when he discovers that he may have photographed a murder when casually taking pictures in a park. He encounters a mysterious woman, Jane (Vanessa Redgrave) who demands he hand over the film and when he refuses she appears at his studio, although Thomas never told her his address.

When the evidence disappears shortly afterwards, Blow-Up seems to deal in riddles that have no solution. Redgrave re-appears and then vanishes before the photographer's eyes, Thomas returns to the park without his camera and sees the body. The film concludes with Thomas, having discovered the body has disappeared, watching a group of mimes playing tennis without a ball or rackets in the park where the murder may have taken place.

It is only in the final scene of the film where the riddle is solved. Thomas throws the imaginary ball back into the court and watches the game resume. The look of realisation on his face is all too apparent as the game CAN BE HEARD taking place out of shot.

There is a ball, there are rackets and this is a real game of tennis. What we have seen up until this point is the photographer's perception of reality: the murder, the mysterious woman in the park, the photographic evidence and the body.

The following exchange between Hemmings and Redgrave is the key to the film:

Thomas: Don't let's spoil everything, we've only just met.

Jane: No, we haven't met. You've never seen me.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
I was so confused by this movie. I know it has to do with a photographer who thinks he's taken a picture of a murder, but after that, I get lost. Antonioni has a good style, but he needs to work on the story more in this one.
Super Reviewer
½ April 9, 2008
Bravo!!! A portrait of the disengaged, nameless, fashionable scene in 1960's London. Antonioni is one of the few directors that creates compelling narrative from the environment, structure, framing and color. The photographer is the ultimate voyeur. The montage is disconcerting, forcing reorientation and reinterpretation, underscoring further questioning of reality. The final images linger in my imagination, becoming embedded in consciousness, defying conceptions and redefining reality.
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2007
Existential hogwash. Vanessa's part is small. The most notable thing about it is the absence of a music score which adds a certain uniqueness to it but not enough to make it tolerable.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2010
Writer/Director Michelangelo Antonioni tells the story of a disaffected young photographer in "swinging sixties" London who believes he's witnessed a murder, only by the time he actually begins to care about the crime he's witnessed, it seems to evaporate from existence right before his eyes. The photographer is a self-absorbed character who can't seem to relate to anyone on a personal level. He treats women like objects, and he becomes fascinated with shiny objects that catch his eye, only to disregard them later. But it's not just him. When he attends a Yardbirds concert, the audience in attendance is completely unmoved by the music, neither dancing nor even nodding their heads in time. It's not until guitarist Jeff Beck smashes his guitar in a fit of anger over the malfunctioning instrument that the crowd erupts, spurned on perhaps by the violence only. The photographer gets a piece of the guitar, fighting off scores of London hipsters, and yet, once outside the frenzy of the club, he tosses it aside indifferently, the guitar only had meaning in the context of the club. It's one of many scenes that demonstrate either the photographer's lack of connection to the human experience, or a lack of a human experience to connect to. Don't be mislead by the murder aspect or the gruesome dead body, this is no thriller or mystery. It's more like an indictment. The way the group of traveling mimes bookends the movie only seems to heighten the sense of triviality to life, and gives us cause to question reality versus point-of-view. The mimes play tennis with an invisible ball, but whether the ball is there or not, they're still playing the game.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2006
Antonioni's greatest work. His amazing visual and verbal emphasis on the environment surrounding Thomas, Without a great deal of action, mystery, or explosive dialogue, this film is riveting and fascinating. A must see.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2009
I enjoyed this considerably, but did anyone else get the impression that director Michelangelo Antonioni suffers from attention deficit disorder? His style of editing, with short sequences and quick cuts, seems better suited for an MTV music video than a feature film. Perhaps that's part of Antonioni's genius, that (for 1966) he was way ahead of his time. (?)
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2006
Jane: What are you doing? Stop it! Stop it! Give me those pictures. You can't photograph people like that.
Thomas: Who says I can't? I'm only doing my job. Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians. I'm a photographer.

A 60s art house film that has an easy setup for its premise, but is no doubt focused on being a swinging 60s film that deals with the perception of reality.

David Hemmings is a London photographer who spends his days taking pictures and screwing hopeful models. During a walk in a park while taking pictures he meets a mysterious women. Later, after developing the pictures he finds what seems to be an obscure image in his shot, possibly a body. He must now find out if he has in fact photographed a murder.

The plot I have described does not start until over an hour has passed. Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni is known for his unconventional narrative structures and this is another example. The film is much more about the photographer moving about London, while we share his point of view.

This doesn't necessarily make it a bad movie, but it certainly works better for certain audiences. People like different things and while I certainly like a lot of different art house movies, this one did not hold my interest as much.

There are a number of things I did like, including the music, the ending, and the presence of Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles.

For me a decent movie, but will work differently for different people.

Thomas: Don't let's spoil everything, we've only just met.
Jane: No, we haven't met. You've never seen me.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2007
This movie is bitchin. Hot models, painted grass, swinging London, Mimes playing tennis

What more could you want?
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2008
I thought you said you had to be in Amsterdam? I am in Amsterdam. This Antonioni outing is definitely a child of the 60s that's looking over its shoulder at its older sibling: Mr. post-nuclear age. It's a heavy-breathing, dark-closeted Cold War bogey man meeting up with a sunshine frolicking, peace, free-love, and art for art's sake happy puppy. When the two come face to face as they do here, you have resulting "now you see it, now you don't" phenomena which can leave you wondering what's real and what's unreal, baby. Blowup feels like what's boiling under the surface butting up against what's boiling over on top, the world of the unseen and the unknown coming out to play with the world of "what you see is what you get." The result can be dissonance, alienation, and even a peek over the edge at the abyss. It may have been mind-blowing in its time, but nowadays it's a little closer to mind-numbing. A great historical artifact nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2008
Blow-Up disappointed me quite a bit. I was expecting something more like Eclisse or La Notte. Truthfully, all of Antonioni's films are very slow, but the ones I had seen until this point had been at least engaging; Blow-Up managed to flat-out bore me.

The whole story, if there is one, is that a hip London fashion photographer (who cultivates the art of "serious" photography on the side) thinks some pictures he took of Vaness Redgrave and some guy at a park are evidence to a murder. As exciting as the whole voyeur/rear window scheme often proves to be, the script manages to slowly kill the appeal. Ultimately, Blow-Up is a fantastic visual recollection of the 60s London scene and little more. Women with tons of eyeliner, fake eyelashes and enviable haircuts, and that's it.

David Hemmings really sucks, although I am unsure about whether it is his character who fails or the fact is that he puts no heart into the performance. He is utterly uninteresting, supposedly a womanizer but somehow absolutely lacking of charm. People like that exist, I understand, although if on top of that you give the man tons of cynicism but virtually no lines to keep the audience awake, we all slip together into a trance and wake up when two aspiring models decide to thrash the photographer's studio, making a lot of noise and giggling stupidly. Then our hero proceeds to engage in a suggested threesome and possibly statutory rape.

I admit to having felt some tension and vague, intermitent hints of wonder, but all in all I didn't find Blow-Up interesting in the least: if I had to prepare an exposition about 60s fashion I would probably turn to it for documentation. I also give it half a star for the great Herbie Hancock score and the music, all in all, as well as the decor and photography. Unfortunately, the philosophy and the emotional despair in Eclisse that practically permeated the screen and that made me an Antonioni fan :) are absent from this one.
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2006
A really cool film. A nonsensical one for the most part, but cool. From an aesthetic standpoint or for the sake of viewing it as art, Blow-Up is just that--a visual feast. Great composition, beautiful women (it's worth the watch for Vanessa Redgrave alone), Jeff Beck fucking up a guitar, etc. However if you're watching Blow-Up for any semblance of a story you'll likely be disappointed, save a few very well done parts. It meanders for a better part of an hour, starts to get going then decides not to. Not nearly enough Redgrave or Sarah Miles, but the Herbie Hancock score was pretty damn cool. It's also a pretty cool time capsule. Too bad it's overrated.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2007
Iconic British swinging sixties movie. London photographer chances onto the scene of a murder... and that's about the entire plot!
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2007
In spite of basically having no plot, the whole feel of drugs, rock n' roll and beautiful females make this an interesting, colorful, sultry catalog of the swingin sixties london.
Super Reviewer
½ May 21, 2007
I was rather disappointed in this. I didn't particularly like David Hemmings, and Vanessa Redgrave seemed too...I don't know -- effected and postured. And I hate films where people are supposed to act all high and groovy. It always comes across as fake as it is. I guess I was supposed to get all weirded out when the body disappeared but I didn't. And I didn't start questioning his judgment. I just assumed someone moved the body to cover the crime and/or to set him up for it. When it ended all "what is real? Was there a murder? Were the mimes playing tennis?", I was really let down.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2007
One of my favorite films.
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