Blow Up is one of those films where at the end, you go “that’s it?” And throughout the film, you think, “what was up with that?” Not really based on a storyline, the film can be more appreciated for its visual aspect and surprisingly, its ambivalence. Each scene has a way of easily being recalled and is interesting enough that it makes the viewer think the scenes are connected. However, they aren’t. And this is actually what makes the film, altogether, quite enjoyable to watch.
It is a film that needs no explanation, but when seen, you feel as if you need to give it an explanation. It’s frustrating to watch because the film does have the elements of a mystery thriller, but fails in a sense that there is no urgency. It appears eerie in the beginning with the fashion photographer and the way he treats his models, making you automatically think there’s something more to the story, but the plot tends to just leave things. The photographer himself at many points just leave things, such as the models. The plot is very unusual, and is at many times interrupted by somewhat meaningless or useless things. An example would be the main character buying a propeller for no certain reason at all.
Our expectations get in the way, having been used to seeing films that follow patterns and structures, and what we expect to see next. For example, after the murder photos are revealed, we expect a sudden knock at the door to be a killer, when it is in fact, two other models. This drops the climax and makes it difficult for the viewer because we aren’t seeing what we want to see.
Blow Up is one of the films where although set in the 60’s and filmed in the 60’s is still full of postmodernism. And the viewer can only really analyze it by using New Criticism, which is to look at a work of art without using other theories or the author’s intentions; you can only judge the work alone in itself. Blow Up cannot be depersonalized, it is one of those works of art that is an experience, wherein the audience or viewer is the one doing the experiencing.
Blow Up is a film that is both concrete, having a main plot, the supposed murder mystery, and abstract, because it is altogether disruptive. Just like the murder photos are both concrete and abstract, almost similar to the paintings of the photographer’s friend, Bill. Most scenes have no connection to the other, and only at the end do we see that the film is framed. Beginning with the mimes, and ending with them playing an invisible tennis match, it doesn’t strive to have a resolution as most plots do. Overall, Blow Up is one of the films that can’t be thought out, it can only be experienced. And the only way to enjoy it is to put our expectations aside and let the interruptions interrupt us; let the disconnections disconnect us.