Criterion Year Week 44: Blast of Silence and a discussion about the lost beauty of the video store

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Blast of Silence

Spine Number: 428

Director: Allen Baron

Genre: Drama

As the local video store has become a thing of the past there are certain experiences that have been lost to us. There was something about going to a local store that had a finite inventory that led to a type of adventuring that we don't really have anymore. You would go to your local store and there would be one or two movies that you would always gravitate towards but never rent. Your guy or gal, you always had one, would learn what you liked and help you discover new and interesting things that you never thought of watching before. If you were like us, you had several video stores and a legion of employees who knew what you liked and would hook you up with stuff. There was something about the title or the artwork that just struck a chord, but for some reason you would never take the plunge. Then, one night you wouldn't see anything that looked good, and finally decide to give this mystery box a try. Often times the results were predictably disappointing. The title or box art wrote a check that the movie just couldn't cash.


There were the times when the movie would be so outrageous, so ridiculous, so great, or so unexpected that you kicked yourself for not watching it sooner.

In that spirit, we give you Blast of Silence.


This is a lean, mean, and to the point noir-esque gem that not enough people know about, but those who do... those who do are part of a special group. To give you an idea, a few years back The Academy (yes, that Academy) invited Patton Oswalt to a special screening for a new series they were doing. They allowed him to pick any film he wanted. He chose this. Look up what he's said about it and be amazed at this guys writing ability.

What he wrote and said about this film inspired me to get it. I'd seen it, loved the title, and been intrigued by the cover, but this was my strange little video store gem that I just never pulled the trigger on. Man, I wish I had done so earlier.

There is not an ounce of fat on this thing. It's a simple, direct story of a hit man coming to town to execute a contract, but his past gets in the way. From the opening narration to the closing image this movie is perfectly balanced. It's rough and simple, but when you execute this well there is no need to get fancy.

So join us as we take a look at a criminally overlooked movie and lament the bygone days of the local video store.


Next Week:

Spine number 450: Bottle Rocket

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Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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