Thomas (David Hemmings) is a high fashion photographer who is a little jaded and tired of the swinging sixties lifestyle. He is working on a book that features darker images. He spent some time photographing homeless people and is working with his agent, Ron (Peter Bowles), who is interested in publishing the book.
After a morning of photographing supermodels Thomas goes to a local park looking for inspiration. He sees a couple in the distance. They look like lovers trying to find some private time. Thomas begins snapping pictures of the couple. The woman (Vanessa Redgrave) sees him and approaches him as he begins to leave. She is upset at being photographed and wants the pictures. She tries to take the camera. Thomas refuses to give it to her. He says he’ll give her the pictures later. She takes off running across a field.
Thomas has lunch with Ron and shows him his latest pictures of the homeless men. Ron notices someone that appears to be following Thomas. When Thomas eventually gets home the woman from the park is there and is still looking for the pictures. Thomas gives her a different roll of undeveloped film.
After she leaves Thomas develops the actual film. Something about the pictures piques his curiosity. Thomas begins to see something that the camera caught but he didn’t see at the time. Multiple blow-ups of the film reveal someone in the bushes with a gun. At first, he thinks he may have saved someone’s life, but further exploration reveals what could be a dead body on the ground. Later that night, Thomas goes back to the park and finds the body of the man he saw earlier in the day. When he returns to his loft the pictures are gone. The next day he goes back to the park with his camera, but the body is gone.
“Blow Up” was released in 1966 and was written and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. It is a British mystery and a thriller as well as one of the strangest movies I’ve seen in a while. The movie is based on a short story by Julio Cortazar. The film includes an appearance by the rock group The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Keith Relf. The music score was done by Herbie Hancock. Also featured in the film is supermodel Verushka. The film was nominated for many awards.
The movie is actually two films intertwined. It is an ambiguous mystery and an art film. The mystery part is only a small portion of the dynamics of the movie. Critics find it pretentious and lump it in with new wave existential stylized trendy art films of the 60’s. Others find deeper meaning to the film. Fans seem to somehow instill the meaning of life into the movie. They see all the diversions and superfluous scenes as part of Thomas’ character. He is successful photographer that spends his time photographing beautiful women, drinking, and smoking dope while driving a Rolls Royce sports car and having sex with everybody. Questioning his own existence, he starts whining in his privilege. His life is boring and inconsequential until he finds that his camera may have caught something that he missed. In reality Thomas is a dog that is distracted by squirrels.
This fancy alternate movie is not what I was looking for. The movie may be the most important film to ever be made, I don’t know. All I wanted was a nice little mystery. I found the movie to be boring and long. I kept watching because I was hoping that there was going to be a payoff of some kind if I kept looking. For me, no such luck.