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Blow-Up

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, Italy, United States
·
1966

1h 51m

Director Michelangelo Antonioni
Starring David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Sarah Miles, John Castle

Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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A successful mod photographer in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex, feels his life is boring and despairing. But in the course of a single day he accidentally captures on film the commission of a murder. The fact that he has photographed a murder does not occur to him until he studies and then blows up his negatives, uncovering details, blowing up smaller and smaller elements, and finally putting the puzzle together.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

40

Time Out by

As often with Antonioni, a film riddled with moments of brilliance and scuppered by infuriating pretensions; full of longueurs, it works neither as a portrait of Swinging London, nor as a bona fide thriller.
90

The New York Times by Bosley Crowther

This is 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.
100

Slant Magazine by Chuck Bowen

Blow-Up is moving and influential for the chasms it understands to exist between people, and for its perception of art as unable to bridge those divides.
80

Village Voice by J. Hoberman

A prize ‘60s artifact, Michelangelo Antonioni’s what-is-truth? meditation on Swinging London is a movie to appreciate—if not ponder.
75

Chicago Reader by Jonathan Rosenbaum

This is so ravishing to look at (the colors all seem newly minted) and pleasurable to follow (the enigmas are usually more teasing than worrying) that you're likely to excuse the metaphysical pretensions—which become prevalent only at the very end—and go with the 60s flow, just as the original audiences did.
83

The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

Blow-Up defies analysis by design, given that it's about an artist who makes messes and cleans them up only in part, leaving behind the splatter that interests him. Antonioni follows a similar methodology, making strict interpretations of Blow-Up pretty pointless, and certainly less enjoyable than soaking up the mod decadence and ennui.
100

Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

Whether there was a murder isn't the point. The film is about a character mired in ennui and distaste, who is roused by his photographs into something approaching passion.

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