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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome: 31.25%
Worth A Look38.75%
Just Average: 21.25%
Pretty Crappy: 7.5%
Sucks: 1.25%

13 reviews, 82 user ratings


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Blow
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by Matt Mulcahey

"1/2 great film, 1/2 good movie"
4 stars

Blow is a sprawling epic, canvassing almost three decades of the crumbling mirage that once was the American Dream, following the transformation of George Jung (Johny Depp) as he ascends from Massachussets kid with a dream to millionaire drug smuggler.

Although the films layout invites immediate comparisons to Boogie Nights (one of the best movies of the 90s) and Goodfellas (one of the best movies ever), to dismiss Blow as a mere copycat would be to slight the first outstanding film of the year.

Unlike the stylized Boogie Nights or the realistic period detail of Goodfellas, the 70s of Blow are reflected through the way pop-culture perceived the decade. Boogie Nights recreated its era through costume and period music, but the cinematography was
decidedly 90s. Blow recreates the era with visuals that look like they were shot in the 70s.

The cinematography is amazing, with washed out grays and greens combined with vibrant reds, yellows and organges. Blow is full of 70s devices such as freeze frame montages and random, shaky zooms. The same sort of goofy disco-era filmmaking lampooned in the Austin Powers films.

Despite a few devices that seem directly lifted from Goodfellas (Depp's monotone voiceover narration, the freeze frames, the constantly moving camera), director Ted Demme sets him film apart with this unique approach.

Also like Boogie Nights and Goodfellas, Blow begins as a symbolic summation of the American way of life and the changes through the decade. Just as The Godfather represents the changing of American values (Brando’s refusal to sell drugs while condoning gambling, prostitution and murder), Blow begins by showing the transition of 70s to 80s America through the world of George Jung.

The carefree excess of the 70s is captured perfectly, but, unlike Boogie Nights, Blow fails to bring this societal mirror into the 80s.

In the first half of Blow, director Ted Demme makes no judgements. He doesn't condemn Depp for his way of life, or glorify it.

But in the latter half of the movie Demme shifts focus and attempts to martyr Depp. Demme forces the viewer to form an emotional attachment through two scenes, one with his daughter one with his dying father (a wonderful Ray Liotta).

When the 80s arrive Demme also makes a decided turn in his visual style. Gone are the frenetic camera movements, the montage sequences, the still frames.

Instead, the 80s are shot in a more straightforward manner, standard desolves for scene transitions, non-period music, elegant sweeping camera movements.

If Demme had done the same for the 80s as he did for the 70s, show this downward spiral of greed, distrust and disloyalty by shooting it the way an 80s movie would've been shot, Blow might have elevated itself to the stature of American classic.

But instead Demme opts to try and salvage his character through obvious manipulation.

Depp's character illicits sympathy under the basic premise that he is a good guy. Yes he sells drugs, but he isn't greedyor violent. He's a loyal friend and he loves his daughter.
He's a much more sympathetic protaganist than either Ray Liotta in Goodfellas or Mark Whalberg in Boogie Nights. The difference is Scorses and Anderson allow the viewer to make their own judgements.

Demme forces his hand at the end, demanding sympathy for a character who would've received it regarless. The result is half a great film, and half a very good film.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4720&reviewer=255
originally posted: 04/10/01 15:12:24
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell gritty but nothing special 3 stars
9/03/14 Celeste Garcia This movie was beyond the best. 5 stars
4/05/14 PAUL SHORTT UNINVOLVING BIOPIC DESPITE A GREAT STAR PERFORMANCE 2 stars
7/11/13 Jeff Wilder Derivative sure. But well-directed and fantastic performances from Depp and Liotta. 4 stars
11/11/10 Lundon johnny depp is amazing no matter what movie he does and blow makes you feel like your there 4 stars
4/02/08 Tiffanie I loved this movie! Its prolly one of the best by far 5 stars
1/04/08 Pamela White drug dealing and the paranoic life they lead 3 stars
12/09/07 SamanthaP johnny depp is good in anything! 4 stars
11/12/07 Ashley i love this movie very sad 5 stars
10/07/07 KNurse I have watched this movie several times.....awesome fucking movie 5 stars
1/02/06 Wiseman I loved this movie! i watched it 10 times 5 stars
12/18/05 Bree Outstanding all around. 5 stars
11/30/05 john smith it is ok 3 stars
11/21/05 Emily I can watch this movie over and over 5 stars
11/20/05 ad excellent 5 stars
10/30/05 Stephanie This is my favorite movie! 5 stars
9/14/05 shawn great fucking movie 5 stars
8/03/05 D.K. great cast, good grasp of the facts 5 stars
4/20/05 Evka cool movie 5 stars
8/17/04 Violeta perfect! 5 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz too much info. I didn't need 2 stars
7/07/04 Denise Duspiva May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face and may the winds of destiny 5 stars
6/22/04 Jack Sommersby Obvious, uninsightful and blandy directed. Depp is wasted; Liotta only bright spot. 1 stars
6/07/04 Darryl Stavena The most romantic way to see the life of a drug-dealer 5 stars
3/09/04 Ash Everything about this movie makes you a die-hard depp fan! 5 stars
2/22/04 8=====D COKE RULES!!!! 5 stars
1/26/04 R.W. Welch Familiar tale of rise/fall of drug lord, professional work tho. 3 stars
1/14/04 josh mentzer great movie 4 stars
1/07/04 Kim it was great and johnny depp was so sexy i loved it! 5 stars
10/25/03 Samuel Great film, based on a true story and that makes it that much better! 5 stars
8/27/03 Mr. Hat One great film. Great acting, great directing, one powerful ending. 5 stars
7/31/03 Samantha Macias I thoght this movie was interesting, and very sad!! 5 stars
5/03/03 sleepy this film made me feel pity for a drug dealer! 5 stars
4/27/03 tyler reiter greatest fucking movie of all time 5 stars
4/17/03 George Jung One of the best biopics of recent memory. 5 stars
2/06/03 123 a shorter, less violent, inferior version of goodfellas 3 stars
1/07/03 val Fucking Awesome 5 stars
12/30/02 Tam Interesting depiction of a life ruined by drugs. 4 stars
12/30/02 Jack Sommersby Blow me! 1 stars
7/26/02 karen goldstein extremely entertaining - johnny depp deserved an oscar for best actor!!!! 5 stars
7/14/02 sdjfsdkjf Depp, great but once Barb died boring. Penelope needs fucking English lessons, "hypocrite"? 3 stars
5/13/02 bubba ray dudley must see 5 stars
4/29/02 Andy (Big A) dis was one of the best movies ever big ups to my boy jung and soon you will be free 2015. 5 stars
4/09/02 Butterbean A wonderful movie! Far superior to that overrated Requiem for a Dream 5 stars
4/06/02 Cardo Elins Outstanding 5 stars
3/29/02 Victor Villalba Good with some assumptions 4 stars
2/20/02 luda hoe it was fun. i want to do coke now, but still, it was fun 4 stars
2/17/02 Clarance Jonny Depp - Great job - Depicted the harsh reality of how fucked up life can be 5 stars
1/29/02 Phil M. Afficianado Erik the Movieman states my views. Depp is terrific and ages realistically in the film. 4 stars
1/01/02 calvin cellars best based on a true story movie ever made 5 stars
12/27/01 Evil Bitchwoman pretty cool movie i guess so u should go see it. Cruz is a mental Slut though 4 stars
9/24/01 Monday Morning Great characters bring this story to life. It's not great but it shore is fun. 4 stars
9/04/01 Alan The Spanish bitch sleeps with everybody and I despise her. 3 stars
8/17/01 Obi Wan Wow! 1 of the best flicks I've seen in this movie tix inflation era! 5 stars
6/02/01 Richard Wright Does nothing to lift it out of a tired genre, overlong and dramatically shallow to boot. 3 stars
5/27/01 Connor Dueck a slightly different look at the drug game 5 stars
5/23/01 Christine It is the best movie ive ever seen!! 5 stars
5/19/01 A Williams I went in there expecting crap, but it was a really excellent movie, i recommend it 4 stars
5/15/01 Misa The movie was actually pretty great, definately not boring like I thought it would be. 4 stars
4/25/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) An aquired taste...and I suggest everyone acquire it... 4 stars
4/25/01 Todd Very cool, but if he hasn't seen his daughter while in prison, why did she act in the movie 4 stars
4/25/01 Brian After Pacino in "Scarface", all these other drug-lord movies pale by comparison 3 stars
4/23/01 Pete Sweet movie. Go see it. Johnny Depp is the best character actor in America right now. 5 stars
4/23/01 Girl 9 The Depp track record for making decent films sucks, but this one is worth seeing. 4 stars
4/18/01 Joe Awesome! Another movie Depp will be overlooked 5 stars
4/16/01 ChiefAlDog I wanted more explanation of how he avoided his parole officer time and again. 4 stars
4/14/01 Bill B Best I've seen in a long time. PeeWee was great. Tear jerker for any man with a daughter. 5 stars
4/14/01 Clarance A Cross between Trainspotting and Traffic...but BETTER! Fantastic and Powerful!! 5 stars
4/11/01 gabi Says it all--the good and bad of life; Depp incredible; very awsome film 5 stars
4/11/01 Nick A little on the depressing side, but a good film with an interesting comment on life. 4 stars
4/10/01 alanis I think you are very unfair with johnny, he makes an excellent performance, as usual 4 stars
4/10/01 scott awesome 5 stars
4/09/01 The Bomb 69 some cliches but overall an interesting look at a flawed and tragic character 4 stars
4/08/01 poetchuck Engaging story 4 stars
4/07/01 grunter If "Scarface" were a T.V. movie, it'd still have more substance and grit than "Blow" 2 stars
4/07/01 malcolm realest, most sympathetic drug dealer character in a while, maybe ever 5 stars
4/07/01 frankko nothing we haven't seen before. (and not enough paul reubens.) 2 stars
4/07/01 rue the whirl fairly dull and tiresome 3 stars
4/07/01 fishfry Last hour excruciatingly boring. Major disappointment 2 stars
4/06/01 brent young not given away in the previews, this movie was very good. worth a definate look. 5 stars
4/06/01 Megan Uninspired direction, a badly written script, and a horrible performance by Penelope Cruz 2 stars
4/02/01 Marcy Skenderian Per the WGA, it should read "Written by David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes" 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Apr-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  23-Aug-2001 (M)




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