Sunday, 22 April 2012
Blow-Up was Italian auteur Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language feature and the biggest box-office hit of his career. Though the initial third of the film might seem removed from the kind of movies he was known for on account of it being based during the Swinging 60’s in London, by the time it ends one would realize it wasn’t too different after all. This was the tale of Thomas (David Hemmings), uber-rich fashion photorgrapher living an ennui-laden life of vacuous excesses, who might just have stumbled upon a murder while on an impulse photo-taking tryst at an idyllic looking park – strongly reminding one of the Hitchcock classic Rear Window. The slow-burning sequence where he develops the photographs and brilliantly unscrambles the jigsaw initially based on his hunch and later on his instincts and eye, followed by the fear and paranoia when realization sets in, made for compelling watch. However, though a psychological crime thriller on the surface, in essence the film’s underlying focus was denser and more complex. Antonioni thus used the murder mystery angle as a springboard to probe into his favourite themes, viz. urban alienation, societal detachment, and existentialism, along with commentaries on easy gratification and voyeurism. Thus, though it had some excellent plot developments, by the time the movie ended, plot had taken a complete backseat, leading us to a surreal, intriguing and strangely gratifying finale. Hemmings did a fine job as the movie’s emotionally alienated protagonist, as did Vanessa Redgrave as an enigmatic lady desperate to get hold of the photo-reels.
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Crime Thriller/Mystery/Existentialist Thriller