Sunday, November 20, 2011
John Travolta used to be an incredible actor and this is one of the movies that really showcases his ability. Brian De Palma has launched the careers of many high profile actors and even though he did not launch Travolta's career, he indeed elevate his stature in terms of acting ability. The movie also stars John Lithgow and Nancy Allen, who each give award worthy performances. This was De Palma first truly high profile release but his biggest movie, Scarface, would follow in 1983. The movie was also favored by reviewers and critic but it failed miserably at the box office due to terrible word of mouth.
The movie follows a sound technician, Jack Terry(Travolta), who is currently working on low budget horror movies in Philadelphia. One night he is out recording sounds to use effects, and he witnesses the blow out and subsequent crash of a car carrying a high profile politician. The politician dies but he saves a young woman, Sally (Nancy Allen), and there is a major coverup that follows. Throughout the course of the movie There are forces working against Jack to get rid of all the evidence that he has in his possession even if he doesn't plan on using it for any reason. Burke, a psychotic hit man, enters the fray when he wants to tie up all of the loose ends involved in the elaborate plot to get rid of the politician who died at the beginning of the movie. The movie then becomes him about hunting Jack and Sally down before they expose the truth about the assassination of the politician.
FROM THIS POINT ON THERE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT SPOILERS..
This is one of the first thrillers that I actually sat through and enjoyed every moment of. Travolta is just mesmerizing in the movie with his performance, because he plays this normal guy going through life who is thrust into this over the top situation. His character is trying to do the right thing and expose the coverup but there are just too many forces working against him to truly succeed. Most of his actions are logical and he is usually at the mercy of circumstance or the fact that the people aren't aware of the dire situation he is in. The character of Sally is so oblivious to what is going on that she is difficult to trust because she has no idea of what to do in most situations. Then when you find out about his past dealing in internal affairs for the police, you think it is going to help him catch the guy that his hunting them or it will benefit his situation in some way but it ends up backfiring on him again and will haunt him for the rest of his life because it led to him in a way witnessing Sally's death.
This is also a movie about the movie making process, with a behind the scenes look at sound production and how the footage is matched up with the sound. This is an interesting part of the story and does help the plot move along. There are sequences as the movie progresses where there is a split screen and you see Travolta piecing together a sound reel and the other screen is the footage he is watching and it is interesting to see the work it takes to match up the sound and the footage. The are also many instances in the movie when the main characters are overcome with guilt and feel it is necessary to right their past wrongs. With Jack, it is trying to right the wrong of when an undercover police officer was killed due to one of the wire taps he created malfunctioning and exposing the police officer. For Sally, it is her trying to right the wrong of her being directly involved in black mailing several politicians and other men.
I flat out loved every moment of this movie. It was tense, had great performances, and a fantastic story. De Palma made a true masterpiece and Travolta gave one of the best performances of his career. This is a must see movie and needs to be seen by everyone who enjoys a great thriller. This movie is a cult classic and has proven it over the years that it is just as good as the day it was released. This is the first movie on the site that will get a 10/10 in my opinion. The best thriller I have ever seen and one of the top 10 movie I have seen all time.