With Blow-up, Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni created one of the most fascinating and psychedelic art films, which tells the story of a desensitized and nihilistic London photographer who may have or not have witnessed a murder. Antonioni uses the formulaic materials for a traditional suspense thriller, without the climatic payoff. Blow-up is less about the pieces to a puzzle and is more a character study on a soulless empty vessel who becomes spiritually awakened and aroused by his passion as a photographer when he begins to discover that he may be involved in something much more significant than himself.
The themes that Antonioni is trying to express in Blow-up are masterfully presented in the infamous and philosophical final sequence of the film, in which the photographer encounters a group of pantomiming mimes that play an invisible game of tennis with an imaginary ball. We can hear the sounds of tennis on the soundtrack and yet this unseen tennis ball is as real or imagined as the photographs within the story. They both seem to coexist in a world that is an illusion emphasizing the thin line between objective art and abstract reality; as Antonioni also suggests the illusion of the cinema and the authenticity of its images that an audience perceives and interprets when the director places them up on the screen.