Critics Consensus

Exquisitely shot and simmering with unease, Michelangelo Antonio's Blow-Up is an enigma that invites audiences to luxuriate in the sensual atmosphere of 1960s London chic.



Total Count: 47


Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,612
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Movie Info

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language production was also his only box office hit, widely considered one of the seminal films of the 1960s. Thomas (David Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod "Swinging London." Filled with ennui, bored with his "fab" but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images, believes that he has photographed a murder. Pursued by Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman who is in the photos, Thomas pretends to give her the pictures, but in reality, he passes off a different roll of film to her. Thomas returns to the park and discovers that there is, indeed, a dead body lying in the shrubbery: the gray-haired man who was embracing Jane. Has she murdered him, or does Thomas' photo reveal a man with a gun hiding nearby? Antonioni's thriller is a puzzling, existential, adroitly-assembled masterpiece. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Blow-Up

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (6)

  • I always liked to think that even the worst film by Antonioni would be better than the best by almost any other director. Now I know that this is so, because I've just seen his worst film, and I was right: Blow-up is still an absolute must.

    Mar 20, 2018 | Full Review…

    Richard Roud

    Top Critic
  • A prize '60s artifact, Michelangelo Antonioni's what-is-truth? meditation on Swinging London is a movie to appreciate -- if not ponder.

    Feb 4, 2013 | Full Review…
  • In Blow-Up [Antonioni] smothers this conflict in the kind of pompous platitudes the press loves to designate as proper to "mature," "adult," "sober" art.

    Feb 4, 2013 | Full Review…
  • This is so ravishing to look at (the colors all seem newly minted) and pleasurable to follow (the enigmas are usually more teasing than worrying) that you're likely to excuse the metaphysical pretensions.

    Jul 31, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There may be some meaning, some commentary about life being a game, beyond what remains locked in the mind of film's creator, Italian director-writer Michelangelo Antonioni. But it is doubtful that the general public will get the 'message' of this film.

    Jul 31, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • As often with Antonioni, a film riddled with moments of brilliance and scuppered by infuriating pretensions.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Blow-Up

  • Apr 23, 2017
    24/04/2017 - This film is very similar to watching paint dry, except i think i would find watching paint dry more interesting. By the time the picture comes to its "climax" i was too bored to really care. A pretentious film that just doesn't have enough going on.
    Peter B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2013
    I can see why this is considered a great movie, but I didn't connect with it at all. The first thirty minutes were too slow for me, and while I liked the ending and thought it was very clever, there just wasn't enough to keep me fully interested in the movie.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2013
    I get what 'Blowup' is about. What's reality and what isn't? Believe me, I get it. I don't need arthouse folk to get in my face and explain the whole film to me because it's actually very simple. It's not hard to understand. Is it an interesting film? Yeah, I guess so. Is it boring? Yeah, I guess so. The truth is I don't really know how I feel about. There are moments that I like, there are moments I find mind-crushingly dull. It doesn't add up to much, but there's enough strangeness in it to make you feel like you haven't totally wasted your time.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer

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