120 of 1001 Movies: Blow Up (1966)

Michelangelo Antonioni has created one of the hippest movies I’ve seen. It’s set in the mod scene of 1960s London, and follows the life of a photographer. Instead of trying to tell a story though this one seems more about statements, and while that is admirable you also want to feel a story is developing. Blow Up though is a really visually appeasing movie and while the plot may not go where one would hope it did still keep me interested.

Thomas is a photographer in London who is apart of the mod scene, but he also takes photos around the city when he is out. When visiting the park one day he finds a couple there who appear to be having a nice time, but when he gets home he finds himself stalked by the woman in the pictures who is desperately wanting them back. Thomas doesn’t take his findings in the photos too seriously of what appears to be a murder attempt while he continues his casual sexual encounters and fun until one photo reveals that the murder may have actually taken place.

The first thing I did notice about the movie was how it looked because it was really hip, and it uses hip music to back it up like the Yardbirds, and Herbie Hancock. The music instantly catches you at the beginning of the movie, and the director seems to have a very different idea of styling the introduction that I’ve seen before. It’s very unique and creative, and on top of that quite colorful.

The acting also is quite good, but the thing that might be most upsetting as a woman is how all the women are portrayed. They seem just like objects to Thomas which doesn’t make him too likable, but also there is something about him that still seems real enough to like. He’s a man who has gotten drawn into using the world as he sees fit, and most people in his situation might use that to their advantage the way he does. Women like to feel beautiful, and good pictures help that, so when photographing women he does also utilize the sexual nature it brings out of them. By the end of the transition that this murder has put him through is very present, but where he’ll go from there is inconclusive. So either you will the mysterious ending, or you’ll be wanting an ending that concludes better.

The movie seem outdated as far as the mod style, because the clothes are very 60s. I think the look and some minor details have held up well over time though. I even own a pair of shoes often worn in the movie. What might be a tad outdated is the message, which honestly is obscure. I’m sure you can grasp certain themes that are still relevant, but mostly it seemed the director was wanting to push the rating code, which at the time was different in London and was called Production Code, and was not the current MPAA one we have. So you have very graphic sex scenes that are way too intrusive.

Blow Up though was something that did live up to my expectations though, and I was quite excited about seeing it. It is very artsy, and tries to make a lot of points instead of focusing on plot. This does cause itself to feel unfocused at times. I couldn’t turn away though, and the lead character, Thomas, really was fascinating to watch the development of.

Rating 7 of 10.

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