Saturday 4 July 2009

An Independence Day Blow Out

A happy Fourth of July to anyone from the U.S. of A. who happens to stumble across this page. Though I probably should have done the patriotic thing and posted something Canadian on my own country's birthday (July 1st - Canada Day), I was actually out enjoying the day in a pretty cool Canadian way: driving out from Calgary to the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology - passing fields of canola and diving into the Badlands while coming back through a huge Prairie storm with a subsequent huge rainbow welcoming us back to Alberta's biggest city. I love living in Toronto, but sometimes you just can't beat the scenery out West...

Back to the Red, White and Blue. Both the flag and the colours. I just recently watched Brian DePalma's "Blow Out" for the very first time and while the story let me down in some spots, its very last scene was quite perfect and its setting around a "Liberty Day" parade provided DePalma with his palette for most of the film - Red, White and Blue.

Though I love DePalma's visual style, he often goes off the rails for me with either awkward scenes (where the visuals are inventive, but don't quite work) or fairly large plot issues. In the case of "Blow Out", the careful attention to detail paid to the audio recording process and the meticulousness of John Travolta's sound man made those unrealistic moments jump out. Several examples: the "serial killer" murders by the expert which took way too many out-in-the-open risks, some lame police work in several spots and that last chase sequence where Travolta drives through the downtown parade - that final one almost took me right out of the film, especially when he's able to just walk away from the ambulance after putting so many lives in danger.

But there I go nit-picking again. The very ending is great and anything to do with the actual blowout recording and the detail of going over and over the sounds again and again is actually quite brilliant. And then there's DePalma's visuals - images within images, split screens, tight close-ups on the sound man's tools of the trade, close foreground on one side and deep background focus on the other AND those flag-waving colours which show up just about everywhere in the film.

Yeah, get those red coats! B-)

Happy 233rd.

No comments: