thoughts on blow-up? SPOILERS

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by george kaplan, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I just saw this a few days ago. I pretty much enjoyed it from the start. I did think to myself along the way what a shame it was that Hitchcock didn't direct it instead of something like Torn Curtain. And I kept thinking he would have improved Blow-up in lots of little ways. Still I was happy.
    I decided pretty early on that it looked like a film I'd want to buy and watch again. It did seem to take a long time to get to the discovery of the murder, but it was still good. Then I kept waiting for the resolution. I waited, and waited, and eventually, he goes back to the park, finds the body gone, and instead of finding out who was killed and why, we get to see a bunch of mimes playing tennis. [​IMG]
    WTF????
    Now, I can appreciate a nonconventional ending as well as the next guy. But this was a major let down for me. What could have been a really good murder mystery, turned out to be some sort of...I'm not sure what.
    Now, please tell me if you disagree, and why, but I did not see this as some great ground-breaking ending. Rather, it struck me as a lazy way out. Instead of figuring out how to solve the murder, or how to stick in an interesting twist, they just stuck in some weird ending.
    I suppose the ending is supposed to be symbolic. Maybe the fact that he actually hears the tennis ball means that the mime tennis game is more real to him than the murdered man who's disappeared. I don't know. And frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.
    I love symbolism, but to me symbolism is like a spice. It makes the food taste better, but I don't want to eat nothing but spices for the main course.
    I go back to lamenting how much better this could have been under Hitchcock. There are so many ways the movie could have been better. Hell, you could have kept the mime tennis in! Let him spend the night actually figuring out who the killer and victim were, the relationship with the girl and why it all happened. Then have him call the police. He doesn't give his name, cause he wants to be there to photograph them finding the body for his book. On the way he stops and watches the mimes play tennis. When he gets there, the body is gone. He hears a noise. Fade out. Next we see the police arrive and find a body - his. End of movie.
    That would have been a unconventional, but satisfying ending. But alas, the end of that movie just completely ruined it for me.
    If sticking in a completely unrelated, yet artsy ending to a film without resolving things makes a film great, then I guess
    Citizen Kane would have been a lot better if instead of finding out Rosebud was the sled, a bunch of munchkins came at the end and danced around Kane's body singing "Rosebud, Rosebud"

    Casablanca would have been better if instead of Ilsa ending up with either guy, she just took a gun, killed Victor and Rick and then turned it on herself for no good reason. Then Sam would fly in on his piano singing As Time Goes By to the corpses.

    To me, the way Blow-up ended is no different than those, with a psuedo-symbolic ending of no relevance replacing a meaningful resolution to the plot that would have taken too much creativity to figure out.
    Now, I'm sure to those of you who love Blow-up, I'm being provincial and showing no taste. So, tell me why this ending is better. Convince me I'm wrong.
     
  2. Stephen A

    Stephen A Agent

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    Had Hitchcock made this, it would have been a compleatly diffrent movie. It would have been a mystery thriller about the murder. Sure, had someone like Hitchcock directed it. It would probably have been very good, but still a standard thriller.

    But that's not what Blow-Up is about at all, it's not about a murder, was there even a murder? I might even go so far as to say that doesn't matter at all. So what is this movie about? One thing is intress, or better yet, disintress. I'm not saying this is all it's about, or even mainly about. But here you have a man who is clearly bored with his life, even though it's a pretty good one. And suddenly something makes him courious, he becomes intressted in the world around him again, full of energy. And by the end he starts to hear the sounds of the world again. Who killed who, for what? Does it matter?
     
  3. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    You're probably right. And in some ways it's a perfect parallel. This guy found his life boring. Then he got involved in a murder mystery. Then when it fizzled he was bored again.
    I too got most interested in this movie when the photos got blown up and the mystery arose. And when it fizzled, I got bored again, so much so that I have no interest in watching this film anymore.
    I guess I just love a good mystery, while I find a movie about how boring a guy finds his life to be, well, boring.
     
  4. Darren H

    Darren H Second Unit

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  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Darren,
    I like your analysis. I think you're right. And I guess I'm not saying the Blow-Up was a failure, or a bad movie or didn't acheive it's aims. It's just that for myself, I don't want to watch a movie that leads me down the garden path and then pulls the rug out from under me and says shame on you for wanting to enjoy the film. [​IMG]. That may be fun for the director (and obviously a good number of viewers), but not me.
    And I do know about blow-out, although I saw it so long ago, I remember almost nothing about it. Definitely a rewatch.
     
  6. Carrol M

    Carrol M Stunt Coordinator

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    I just had to chime in, as this is one of my very favorite movies. When approaching an older film like Blowup I try and view it through the eyes of the time period it was released in.
    Let me explain even further what I mean. For some reason, when viewing a non-contemporary film, especially something that's that's nearly 40 years old, like Blowup I try and approach it with kid gloves. No matter what the title, whether it be this film or some b-movie from the same period.
    I want to give myself the experience I would have had while sitting in a darkened theater, in America, in 1967 watching the film.
    Knowing only what I would up until that point in cinema history. And trying to remember the context and the era. The French new wave was slowly coming to an end. The American new wave was slowly beginning. And, in between the two great era's of cinema, there were highly praised classics like this film and others that influenced everything around them.
    Viewing it in that context, and trying to imagine what an indelible impression Blowup had on the cinema sprouting up around it, I'm left coming away so refreshed, everytime I see it. Speaking of viewings, I've seen it about 5 times. Several times via the Criterion LASERDISC and I now own the VHS because the DVD is nowhere in sight.
    I realize I haven't discussed the film, so much as, feelings about the film and it's place in history. But, in doing that, I hope that I've inspired a fresh look at this film by the originator of the thread.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Look, you really have to understand the context of the times in which Antonioni made this brilliant film. First, it was inspired by a very stream-of-consciousness, existential short story by Julio Courtezar (sp?). It, like the film that came later, is based on the premise of trying to act (or not act) because of something we thought might (or might not) have occurred.

    Add to that the fact that Antonioni set the action in the midst of the Swinging London era, and used much of the suggestive language of cinema itself in order convey his themes, then we are talking about a work that must be evaluated on its own terms--and not compared to another filmmaker's work.

    Remember, the mimes are a part of Antonioni's repetoir of symbolism: One can only infer what a mime is attempting to convey or suggest--just as David Hemmings's character could only infer a possible murder based on incomplete information culled from a grainy, blown-up photographic image.

    This is a brilliant film, one that requires active participation on part of the viewer, and one that doesn't tell the viewer what to think or how to react. Because of that, it's not the sort of film that would be greenlighted by a major studio today.

    Which is a pity.
     
  8. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    You guys both make some interesting points, and have valid reasons for liking this film. I, however, still have my point of view, which is that this film could have been different, and if it had, I would have liked it much more, whereas you guys would have liked it much less.

    It's all a matter of taste - let's just say that Blow-Up as it is is not my cup of tea at all, whereas if it had actually ended as the murder mystery it looked to be 90% of the way through, it would be one of my favorite films. Oh well.
     

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