Blow-Up - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blow-Up Reviews

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June 9, 2017
Interesting document of London in the swinging '60s where a photographer is never short of models to snap. The conclusion is a bit dis-satisfying but that is the only liability in an otherwise intriguing movie.
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2017
Antonioni exhibits a wonderful eye for colors, shapes and stunning compositions, benefiting mostly from David Hemmings' impeccable performance and Carlo di Palma's exceptional cinematography to dissolve the limits between reality and our perception of it.
Super Reviewer
April 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.
April 14, 2017
Michelangelo Antonioni's BLOW UP has proved, over the years, to be a cultural landmark. Alfred Hitchcock thought it was revolutionizing. Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma loved it so much they each made an unofficial remake. Yet, Antonioni himself did not like the film.

The movie came in with the new-wave pictures Easy Rider, Weekend, and Five Easy Pieces. It has not at all aged well, but seems to be worshiped by critics. A friend of mine described it as "Antonioni's best." Mind you, Blow Up comes from the same director as "L'aventurra" and "The Passenger."

What amazes me is how little the murder is in the film. The first hour is just establishing our protagonist. Perhaps it is better that they chose this, because then after he realizes his mind was probably playing tricks on him he becomes a silhouette, and then his character symbolically disappears from the screen at the end of the film. However, I would have liked it better had it been a straight thriller. Antonioni could indeed make one, so why didn't he?

The film contains little suspense. You do not have a scene like in "Blow Out" where the murderer is chasing our hero on foot. or like in "The Conversation" where blood rises from the toilet proving the evidence was simply flushed away. I do think these are better films for sure, however that's not taking away anything from the original.

Hemmings is magnificent. This was my second time of consciously seeing him on screen, after watching him in the Franklin J. Schaffner's sublime Islands in the Stream. His character is obviously empty, which is why when he goes obsessively mad he fades from existence. For the most part the film is populated by women, so a standout male performance is just what the film needed.

I have not seen anything like "Blow Up" in my life. Maybe that's why everybody loves it.
April 13, 2017
El juego entre la verdad y la fantasía, lo que fue y lo que pudo haber sido, lo que sucedió de verdad o lo que tal vez no sucedió nunca.
½ February 4, 2017
Interesting document of London in the swinging '60s where a photographer is never short of models to snap. The conclusion is a bit dis-satisfying but that is the only liability in an otherwise intriguing movie.
½ January 21, 2017
Al fotógrafo le apasiona la fotografía pero es reconocido por fotografiar la moda, ámbito que le resulta odioso fotografiar. Se desahoga humillando a sus modelos, o por lo menos despreciándolas. Su espíritu impulsivo y su energía de niño interior contrastan con su consagración al arte. A pesar de su talento y renombre se mantiene al margen de la esfera social en la que se moviliza. Londres lo tiene hastiado. Apuesto a que es un chico de campo. Un explosivo grupo de mimos le hace acuerdo de que no hace falta la presencia física del objeto de interés para recrear el sentimiento que inspira. 6.5/10
December 9, 2016
Foi ótimo ter revisto Blow-up: Vanessa Redgrave continua incrível, o filme continua mediano e The Passenger se mantém como o melhor filme do Antonioni, para mim.
November 16, 2016
So many Italian filmmakers seem preoccupied with a uniquely Catholic hypocrisy of exploiting hedonism while poo-pooing it. This film is no different.
October 27, 2016
It's been years, years! Since I've seen Blow Up and I think I enjoyed it more now then way back in college for a film class. Scopaphilia and the arts, sex and death! The swinging London scene, but never mind the misogyny, the clothes! Body, body, who's got the body? Now you see it; now you don't. And Vanessa Redgrave is a nasty woman!
August 8, 2016
One of the most infuriating, arty farty films I have ever seen.
Let's begin. Okay it is old (1966) but it has a decent IMDB rating and is listed in the 1001 Movies You Must Watch Before You Die book that I am trying to work through.
On release it was quite controversial for its nudity but it is very tame compared to modern films.
It basically follows a mid sixties fashion photographer (David Hemmings) who for some reason takes photos in a random park and may unwittingly have witnessed a murder. Something he does not realise until the old fashioned photo film is developed.
Hence the title of the movie. He enlarges or blow-up the grainy images to try and get a clearer view of the potential murder.
The film is like an Austin Powers parody of the swinging sixties era in inner city London.
The photographer treats his fashion models appallingly by today's politically correct standards.
The film was actually made by an Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni but feels very British.
Is Hemmings character falsely believing that he witnessed the murder? The film does not provide a satisfactory answer.
I like films to provide a clear answer the ending of this fails miserably.
The cinematography of the period provides the films first positive point.
The appearance of music legend Jeff Beck on a band provides the other.
The trivia of this film is quite disturbing.
We see the photographer Thomas driving around London in an open topped Rolls-Royce that used to belong to Jimmy Saville.
Studio MGM had to release this under another studio name to beat the strict censorship of the time. I can imagine Mary Whitehouse having kittens at some scenes.
The film is too arty for my liking.
½ June 4, 2016
1. What would Lana Del Rey say when she sees this? 2. Isn't David Hemmings' Thomas one of the greatest performances by an actor on screen?
½ May 21, 2016
Um dos mais influentes da história do cinema, um retrato da paranoia e da Londres sessentista. E um final monumental.
February 22, 2016
Blow-Up is regarded as a masterpiece of cinema. I don't put it into that category. It is a great and influential film because it captures the spirit of the "swinging '60s London" better than most others. It also accomplishes much with very little dialogue.

The club scene is classic as it captures the Yardbirds with Jeff Beck playing lead guitar and Jimmy Page playing bass. The protagonist wins the valuable broken guitar neck in the club, but after running from the mob in pursuit, realizes it is simply a worthless hunk of broken wood.

Blow-Up is essentially a hip, British, murder-mystery aimed towards the art-house crowd. It may not stand up very well today but was very influential in its time.
½ February 9, 2016
Watching this for a second time in just a few months I'm struck by how odd it is that this extremely slow, artsy existential character study disguised as a thriller was so successful with the general film going public.
January 9, 2016
Antonioni's art house thriller has aged remarkably well not just for being a technical marvel, but one of the few films of the era to give a legit depiction of the 1960s counter-culture movement. Just as John Boorman would do with Point Blank a year later, Antonioni introduced new-wave tactics to a film with genre tropes, making for something that responded to a contemporary young audience, and recalled classics. Antonioni shoots the film with a whirling flair that leads to never a dull moment, all while wrapping it around a storyline that's an intriguing puzzle. A masterpiece, and yes, it's way better than Brian de Palma's Blow Out.
November 7, 2015
Blow-Up is not so much the unfolding of a murder mystery as it is watching an obsession at work, following a bored and unsatisfied photographer who is awakened from his tedium by the pleasure of his work.
October 31, 2015
After spending the night at a doss house where he has taken pictures for a book of art photos, glamorous fashion photographer, Thomas (David Hemmings), is late for a photo shoot with famous model Veruschka at his studio, which in turn makes him late for a shoot with other models later in the morning. He grows bored and walks off, leaving the models and production staff in the lurch. As he leaves the studio, two teenage girls who are aspiring models (Jan Birkin and Gillian Hills) ask to speak with him, but the photographer drives off to look at an antiques shop. Wandering into Maryon Park, he takes photos of two lovers. The woman (Vanessa Redgrave) is furious at being photographed. The photographer then meets his agent for lunch, and notices a man following him and looking into his car. Back at his studio, Redgrave arrives asking for the film, but he deliberately hands her a different roll. She in turn writes down a false telephone number to give to him. His many enlargements of the black and white film are grainy but seem to show a dead body in the grass and a killer lurking in the trees with a gun. The fact that he may have photographed a murder didn´t occur to him until he studied and then blew up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together...

Bosley Crowther, film critic of The New York Times, called it a "fascinating picture, which has something real to say about the matter of personal involvement and emotional commitment in a jazzed-up, media-hooked-in world so cluttered with synthetic stimulations that natural feelings are overwhelmed". Crowther had reservations, describing the "usual Antonioni passages of seemingly endless wanderings" as "redundant and long"; nevertheless, he called Blowup a "stunning picture - beautifully built up with glowing images and color compositions that get us into the feelings of our man and into the characteristics of the mod world in which he dwells". Of the film's ending, Roger Ebert wrote in The Great Movies: "What remains is a hypnotic conjuring act, in which a character is awakened briefly from a deep sleep of bored alienation and then drifts away again. This is the arc of the film. Not 'Swinging London.' Not existential mystery. Not the parallels between what Hemmings does with his photos and what Antonioni does with Hemmings. But simply the observations that we are happy when we are doing what we do well, and unhappy seeking pleasure elsewhere. I imagine Antonioni was happy when he was making this film."Ebert also published a letter by actor Ronan O'Casey which claimed that the film's mysterious nature is the product of an "unfinished" production, and that scenes which would have "depict[ed] the planning of the murder and its aftermath -- scenes with Vanessa, Sarah Miles and Jeremy Glover, Vanessa's new young lover who plots with her to murder me -- were never shot because the film went seriously over budget." "Blow Up" is a frenetic, insinuating, paranoid and "what if" film, but yet it´s slow paced and energetic at the same time. I love how Antonioni has used the "Swinging London" (clothes, fashion, music, environments, people) and particularly the fashion scene to its full extent and that adds so many layers to the film. The anti-hero Thomas, a self obsessed, cruel and with a larger than life persona is played perfectly by Hemmings. His facial expressions and movements carries the whole film and with a young Vanessa Redgrave as his counterpart we see movie magic on the screen. The storyline is based on the idea that everyone perceives reality in their own way and ultimately see only what they want to see. We can be blind to reality in our own little bubble and that feels even more current today than it did in 1966. The end shows that what seems to not exist in reality can actually exist in your mind. What is true and what is not true? It´s in the eye, ears and mind of the beholder. Michelangelo Antonioni offered little in the way of insight into his intentions with the film, and was always clear that meaning wasn't meant to be spelled out. "By developing with enlargers...things emerge that we probably don't see with the naked eye....The photographer in Blow-Up, who is not a philosopher, wants to see things closer up. But it so happens that, by enlarging too far, the object itself decomposes and disappears. Hence there's a moment in which we grasp reality, but then the moment passes. This was in part the meaning of Blow-Up." Vanessa Redgrave offered her take on the film in her autobiography. "Blow-Up was about the unity and difference of essence and phenomena, the conflict between what is, objectively, and what is seen, heard, or grasped by the individual." "Blow Up" is a testament to the 60´s "Swinging London" and a truly engaging movie experience. Trivia: Michelangelo Antonioni's first choice for the role of Jane was the Swedish actress Evabritt Strandberg, after spotting her in Bo Widerberg's film Kärlek 65 (1965). She went to London to meet Antonioni. He approved of her, but the three MGM bosses present at the meeting didn't like her "big nose". The role went to Vanessa Redgrave.
½ October 9, 2015
With Blow-Up, Antonioni shifts his focus to a specific, heavily cluttered generation defined by a specific set of cultural norms that encompass sexual promiscuity, referential art, and drug usage. He contrasts the old and the new through color, as he did in Red Desert, but in making the main character a photographer, Antonioni imbues in his lead a new, entirely appropriate sense of his own personal self, portraying the artistic process and the ways in which it can play out with commendable honesty (the fact that he's made the photographer is so cruel exemplifies this admirable veracity).

Though this generation may not do things exactly as they've been done before, they have no more success in attempting to make sense of the world around them than their predecessors, wandering around desperately attempting to right what they perceive to be a wrong in their insufficient experience in life. Similarly inconclusive, the film refuses to provide concrete answers for the narrative questions it raises, and rightfully so; whether or not he's borne witness to a murder isn't the point. He can continue to blow-up photographs searching for answers all he wants, but there will never be any there to satisfy his existential insufficiencies. Life isn't as conclusive as that.
September 12, 2015
A gorgeously cryptic film that leaves much of it's plot up to interpretation and conjecture.
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