Italian auteur Michelangelo Antonioni's first film in English is also arguably his most famous. Although it bears his trademark hypnotic, dreamlike style, Blow-Up transcends to another level with its commentary on and reflection of London in 1966. Based on a story by Julio Cortázar and starring David Hemmings, the plot revolves around a jaded fashion photographer who may or may not have witnessed something sinister during a morning stroll in the park. Like Antonioni's earlier films, Blow-Up progresses at a languid tempo, and instead of plot, the emphasis lies primarily with the essence of the characters, who range from aloof fashion models (one in particular played by Veruschka, who was herself one of the most famous models in the 1960s), naive groupies (Jane Birkin in one of her first film roles), and a mysterious woman (Vanessa Redgrave) relentlessly demanding the photographs taken of her and her lover by the photographer during his walk in the park. The culture of 1960s music is also plays a role in the film with the presence of the band The Yardbirds during a club scene, although the score is dominated mostly by the sleek, cool jazz of Herbie Hancock. It is endlessly stylish (even now, nearly 40 years later), colorful and beautifully photograped by Carlo di Ponti.
Warner Brothers' edition marks the first appearance of the film on DVD, and it is a mixed affair. The transfer is presented in anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is generally quite clean, although occasionally fuzzy. The sound as well is not particularly dynamic, but this is likely a result of a film of its age. The extras include a music-only audio track, two theatrical trailers and a disappointingly useless commentary track by Antonioni scholar Peter Brunette. Perhaps the nicest extra is the use of the original artwork on the cover of the case.
Although it's often dismissed as pretentious, Blow-Up, which definitely suceeds in being cryptic, is an excellent film. It will likely never appeal to viewers in search of a film with a concrete plot, straightforward dialogue or an ending that neatly ties everything together. It is highly recommended viewing for anyone in search of an escape from the mindless drivel that typically fills the multiplexes in the first few months of the year.