Blue Velvet (1986) Poster

(1986)

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Strange, Beautiful American Classic
sparklecat26 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
In the early moments of "Blue Velvet" we see idealized small town images - blooming red roses and immaculate white picket fences - accompanied by the sounds of the gentle Bobby Vinton pop tune that gives the film its title. If you sense something unsettling about this perfection, that's only appropriate. "Blue Velvet" is a David Lynch film, you see, and it won't be long at all before a clean-cut college student comes across a rotting ear in an open field.

Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) is the boy who finds the ear, and Sandy Williams (Laura Dern) is the blonde policeman's daughter who assists Jeffrey when he decides to investigate the truth about his disturbing discovery. Sandy and Jeffrey link the ear to night club singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and later, a deranged man named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).

"I don't know if you're a detective or a pervert," Sandy tells Jeffrey when he decides to sneak into Dorothy's apartment. As Jeffrey becomes sexually entangled with Dorothy, we can only cast similar doubt.

It's true that "Blue Velvet"'s dark mysteries have the power to repulse. Voyeurism, rape, torture, and murder are all key to the plot. Yet the film is also spellbinding in its beauty. Vibrant colors and ominous shadows offer gorgeous contrast - call it Technicolor noir - and the film is rife with unforgettable imagery. Moments big and small, from MacLachlan playing with a child's birthday hat to Dean Stockwell's show-stopping lip-synch of Roy Orbison's "In Dreams", are as haunting as anything you will see at the movies anywhere.

The acting is top-notch. MacLachlan is just right as the lost innocent Jeffrey, and Hopper shreds the screen as his depraved counterpoint Frank. Rossellini's performance as Dorothy is devastating and extremely courageous: this is her defining moment as an actress.

"Blue Velvet" is perhaps the quintesstential David Lynch film. His strange humor and painterly gift for creating stunning images are prominently on display, and the film illustrates Lynch's contradictory impulses toward unbridled nastiness and aw-shucks sweetness like no other has. After all these years, "Blue Velvet" is still a shocker, and deciding how one feels about it is still a challenge. It is a film to be considered and then reconsidered, visited and revisited, the kind of film that will never fade away. For serious cinephiles, then, "Blue Velvet" is a film to be cherished.
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9/10
Lynch's Most Famous Movie? I Think So
ccthemovieman-122 June 2006
This has always been a unique crime movie, like no story I have seen before or since. In numerous ways, it's a sick film...but utterly fascinating, even after a handful of viewings. It's a certainly a trademark of director David Lynch with its bizarre story and twists and strange characters.

This movie has one of the most evil characters ever put on screen: "Frank Booth," played by Dennis Hopper. The latter is known for playing psychotic killers and this role tops them all. Hopper was never sicker. Almost as bizarre as him is the female victim in here, "Dorothy Vallens," played a mysterious Isabella Rossellini.

Kyle MacLaclan is good as the nosy late-teen who just has to find out what is going on in Dorothy's apartment while girlfriend Laura Dern gets caught up in his curiosity.

In a movie that features strange characters, the strangest scene of them - and there are a number - is in Booth's apartment with Dean Stockwell and his friends. Stockwell's lip-synching to an old Roy Orbison song is really freaky. Make no mistake, though: as bizarre as this film can get, it's mostly a very suspenseful crime story that can get very uncomfortable to watch at times. The language in this film was surprisingly tame.....until Hopper enters the scene. He's about the only character who uses profanity but he makes up for the others by using the f-word in about every sentence. He is so over-the-top, though, that after the initial shock seeing this movie once or twice, I know almost laugh out loud at him and way he acts.

Visually and audibly, this is another interesting Lynch movie with superb colors, creepy camera angles and a diverse soundtrack. You hear everything from lush classical music to old rock 'n roll songs, and a bunch of bizarre noises (sound effects).

From discussions I've had, this seems to be a film people love or hate. There is not much room for middle ground. Lynch has done much "nicer" films such as "The Straight Story," crazier films ("Wild At Heart," "Eraserhead") and classier movies ("The Elephant Man") but this will be his trademark film: the one above others he will be remembered for, good or bad.
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10/10
A masterpiece
preppy-329 July 2002
A very strange movie but incredible. A young man (Kyle MacLaclan) comes home to help care for his sick father. Soon he's in love with a detective's daughter (Laura Dern) and mixed up in a mystery involving Dorothy Valdes (Isabella Rossellinni) and psycho Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).

Probably David Lynch's best film. The story has gaps in logic, but it's secondary to some incredible wide screen imagery (this has to be seen letter-boxed...no two ways about it). Lynch has said in interviews that he thinks of the image first then works it into the movie. You can tell...things that make no sense at first gradually make sense later on. This movie also demands multiple viewings...I was so shocked the first time I saw it, I couldn't concentrate on it...it took THREE viewings to finally get it.

As to what the movie is about...it depends who you ask. Some people said it's the Hardy Boys on drugs...others say it's about a boy's sexual awakening...others see it as good vs. evil...each one is a valid statement! To me, that's a true art film...one that means multiple things all at once.

The performances are top-notch. This film made MacLachlan...him and Laura Dern work well together and give nice low-key performances. Dern is just great...but she does look pretty silly when she tries to cry. Rossellinni is nowhere near as good as her mother (Ingrid Bergman) was, but she deserves credit for taking such a risky role. She's pretty good. Hopper is WAYYYYYYY over the top as Booth...he's both horrifying and hilarious...a great performance. And let's not forget Dean Stockwell as "suave Ben". His "performance" of "In Dreams" is a definite highlight.

Be warned--the film is very extreme. There's explicit violence, plenty of nudity, sex and tons of profanity. Not for the squeamish. Still, I loved it from beginning to end. One of my favorite films of all time.
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One of Lynch's most accessible and optimistic films
bob the moo18 May 2003
Jeffrey Beaumont returns to his small town home when his father has an accident and ends up in hospital. A quiet walk home changes his perceptions forever when he discovers a human ear in the long grass. He reports it to the police but decides to make some enquires himself with the help of the officer's daughter Sandy. The trail begins with the mysterious Dorothy Vallens and drags Jeffrey into the unseen underworld of Frank Booth.

For the majority of people, you either like Lynch or you dislike him. Personally I like the majority of his work, I love the sense of normalcy that he can create and slowly change to reveal a darkness that is worryingly close to the surface. That is the case here, beginning with a blue sky, white picket fence vision of small town America the camera drops into the grass to see a torrent of bugs scrambling just under the surface. In the same way the film follows Jeffrey's journey into the underbelly of his home town.

In some ways this is one of the easiest Lynch films to get into – here the darkness is not a wide world of demons as in Fire Walk With Me, but is one man and his associates who can be overcome. The darkness is therefore accessible to all but is laced with just enough weirdness to disturb – my favourite scene is where Frank takes Jeffrey to see Ben, it is just a little unsettling. In hand with this is the fact that it is easily one of his most optimistic films, the good angel in Jeffrey's life is a strong character and the ending is one of certainty rather than open to interpretation – that robin has about a clear a meaning as it can.

MacLachlan is well used as Jeffrey. He is wide eyed and innocent even when being sucked into the underworld. Dern plays `all-American' well but doesn't have the complexity of MacLachlan in the script. Rossellini has a challenging role and carries it off quite well – I didn't fully understand her character but I don't know if that was my fault or hers. Of course the film belongs to Hopper who is terrifyingly unstable. Without a doubt he is a monster and you never are left in any doubt as to his state of mind. For an example of his work here watch the scene where Stockwell (in a wonderfully weird cameo) sings and Hopper clearly falls to pieces.

Although I prefer Fire Walk With Me, I do think that this is Lynch's best film. It is weird without going totally overboard and it allows us to sink into the underworld gradually without sudden falls. Hopper controls every scene he is in, but the meeting of wholesome and weird is perfectly delivered and is trademark Lynch.
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10/10
A beautiful, strange ,dark film
spacemonkey_fg10 June 2005
Title: Blue Velvet (1986)

Director: David Lynch

Cast: Isabella Rosellini, Kyle Mac Lachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

Review: David Lynch films are paintings come to life, this has very much to do with the fact that Lynch himself is a painter and he brings that artistic point of view to his film making. Like a good painting, his movies tell a story, which much like an abstract painting, is not always easy to figure out. But what a treat it is to try.

Blue Velvet is a story about a young man returning to his hometown to visit his father who is sick in the hospital. Upon his return he stumbles upon a frightening discovery: a human ear lying on the grass as he walks through the forest behind his parents home. He then takes it upon himself to discover where this ear came from and discovers that that ear will be the reason why he discovers that this is in fact a very strange and dangerous world in which we live in.

Lynch is synonymous with the strange and unusual and Blue Velvet is a good example of this. For those who have ventured into Lynchian territory with films like Mullholland Dr. or Lost Highway get ready for some more crazy imagery and messed up situations. But Ill be honest this time around, even though the situations and images are very very surreal and strange the story itself is pretty easy to understand. Lost Highway remains a total mystery to me to this day, Mullholland Dr. I had to watch about 6 times to figure out....but Blue Velvet though equally as strange and fascinating as those films mentioned, is actually easy to follow and understand.

I loved Kyle MacLachlans character and it was very interesting to see him go through the changes he goes through after he makes his discoveries. He isn't quite the same anymore after he sees the things he sees and does the things he does. Loved that scene in which Laura Dern tries to let him see that even though there's some crazy things in this world there's some good bound to show up sooner or later. Laura Derns character was beautiful and innocent, the one thing that could bring balance to MacLachlans character. By far the most interesting and memorable thing in this film is Dennis Hoppers character, yes my friends, I'm talking about that crazy, demented, sex-crazed freak known as Frank Booth.

Frank Booth is one of those characters that just oozes with evil. You don't feel like its this actor playing some villain, when that happens you totally stop believing that said villain is dangerous. Not so here. Hopper looks, breaths and speaks pure evil! Your kind of scared that there might actually be people like him out in the real world. His scenes and dialog is truly disturbing stuff....."Ill f##C@ anything that moooves!"

I loved the visual aspect of the film which was -as is usual in a Lynch film- extremely beautiful. We may be looking at sliced human ears and demented sex freaks...but everything is photographed within the context of beautiful haunting colors, exotic plays of shadows and lights. Great visuals. The music is incredible as well. Lynch seems to be fond of lounge singers cause very much like he did in Mullholland Drive in Club Silencio, we get another sequence much like that one, with Isabella Rosellini singing us "Blue Velvet" the title song. And there's also a sequence which is very very humorous yet strange and alluring....Dean Stockwell singing Roy Orbinsons "In Dreams". Awesome sequence, one of the most memorable sequences on this film or any other Lynch film. When that scene comes on, you'll be transported to another time and place. What time and place it is Ill leave it up to you.

All in all a great Lynch film not to be missed. A masterpiece that lets me know why Lynch is one of the greatest American directors ever to be in the business of making bizarro, beautiful cinema.

Rating: 5 out of 5 (and very very much so!)
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10/10
More than meets the eye...
Alpenglo12 June 1999
There is far more to 'Blue Velvet' than meets the eye. You can't label this as drama, satire, or black comedy. It just doesn't work.

'Blue Velvet' is an example of our world's disarray. This film is VERY genius in its portrayal. We see a hokey, innocent town that yields a dark secret.

The symbolism is great. White picket fences, waving fireman, hokey acting, and a sunny day show the apparent innocence. But a stroke, black insects, a candle getting blown out, etc. show us something else.

I love how when we see the innocence, everything is hokey. The music, acting, dialogue... everything. But when the darkness appears, everything becomes serious. The script improves, the acting is better... everything. That's something that was missed by most viewers.

David Lynch is brilliant, but he also has a great sense of humor. Jokes aren't funny... absurdity is funny.

Lightness and darkness seemingly coexist in this lumber town... each in their own place. When a curious fellow returns home, he disrupts the balance and the two forces go to war. Yet, we don't really even know which side he's on. I love how Jeffrey always wears black and white. I love all the symbology of this film.

If you haven't seen this yet, break away from the Hollywood cookie cutter movies and prepare to have your mind challenged and entertained.

Makes a fun party movie, too. ;o)

10/10
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9/10
I've never seen anything quite like this before...
Spleen5 May 2003
What surprised me was how very different this was from the two other great David Lynch films I'd seen: "Lost Highway" and "The Straight Story", which are in turn very different from one another. I'd been told by a disappointed David Lynch fan, back in 1997, that the only reason I was so deeply impressed with "Lost Highway" was that I hadn't seen "Bue Velvet", in which he does much the same kind of thing better. "Blue Velvet" may indeed be better (I wouldn't want to say), but in no respect is it the same kind of thing. (The only instance I've encountered so far of Lynch making the same film twice is "Lost Highway" being remade as "Mulholland Drive", which partly accounts for the latter film being so stale and uninvolving.)

"Blue Velvet" is a simple amateur sleuthing story, but the genius is in the telling of it. It's hard to avoid the feeling that something supernatural is somehow involved, although it isn't, and we know that it isn't. It looks and feels as though we're watching the world through a special enchanted (or cursed) prism: the image has been pulled apart, ALMOST into two distinct images, with the elements of pure evil and pure wholesomeness now distinct from one another, sitting just millimetres apart.

Unrelated to this, but still contributing to the intense suspense and the overall creepiness, is Lynch's ability to make us familiar with a few ordinary locations, which grow more sinister - or at least more meaningful - every time we see them, until the sight of a simple concrete stairwell in the dark is enough to make us start to panic.
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10/10
Bizarre And Familiar
Edith Hobbart10 April 2017
To watch Blue Velvet for the first time 31 years after its original release is a treat of unexpected proportions. I'm not going to tell about the story because, I'm sure, each one of us could tell it in very different ways. The blandness of Kyle MacLachland here is a major plus. It's not him that rivet us but his circumstances. And the circumstances are truly riveting, terrifying, unpredictable and gloriously cinematic. Dennis Hopper is superb, disgustingly so and Isabella Rossellini creates a character that was totally new to me. Related to many others but new, disturbingly so. Dean Stockwell has a moment that I know already will stay in my mind for ever. I'm so glad I finally saw it.
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10/10
What a wonderful film. Looks incredible on Blu Ray
donttevenhinkjustletitgo24 November 2011
I just want to say that I fell in love with this film after seeing the 25th anniversary edition blu ray. It looks beautiful. Having only seen it in the early 90s on a run-of-the-mill videotape that was probably pan and scan and full of color and toning problems, it truly is a different experience on blu ray.

The brutally honest performances, visionary aesthetic and the beautiful style make Blue Velvet an absolutely unmissable film and a wonderful addition to Blu Ray. Despite the films fame and notoriety, all these years later, the film still seems completely original, invigorating and unsurpassed.

Everyone assumes that Blue Velvet opens with the infamous ear-in-the-grass scene, but the film's opening is even more disturbing than that. A suburban fantasia of white picket fences, blood-red roses, waving fireman, happy children and a man watering his lawn gives way to the disturbing moment when the watering man collapses and the camera pans down to dirt level where a number of horrific insects are scrabbling in the dirt at the base of the lawn. The soundtrack changes from Leave It to Beaver-style music to the loud, gnawing, electric saw-like noises emitted by the creatures. Only subsequent to this scene does Jeffrey Beaumont (a wide-eyed, snoopy Kyle MacLachlan) find the ear in a field of overgrown weeds.

The ear leads Jeffrey through a sordid underworld involving kidnapping, masochism, drug- dealing, and murder. But while there's a whole lot of plot in Blue Velvet, Lynch's more elemental concern is with unearthing the truth behind the facade (i.e. showing what lurks under the lawn). Even the blue velvet dress that chanteuse Dorothy Valens (Isabella Rossellini) wears hides a secret — namely, the bruises on her body which are delivered by the vile Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, in the role that brought him back to the limelight).

When Jeffrey asks the naive Sandy (Laura Dern), the prim girl on whom he has a crush, why there is so much trouble in the world, the answer is clear — without it, our lives would be far duller. Jeffrey himself admits that he loves a mystery and the curiosity that his desire entails is the same one that fuels Lynch's own vision. When Frank says to Jeffrey, "You're like me," it could be Lynch speaking to the audience. We want to know more, even if what we find out hurts or is ugly. Like the scene of an accident, we cannot look away.

Fueled by a vibrant and always-surprising dream like surrealism, Blue Velvet reminds us that the dreams and fantasies of our subconscious are dangerous and thrilling; it's surface reality that is superficial and mundane.

This is definitely a film worth watching multiple times. It gets better and better on every viewing. There are so many questions, and at the same time, so many answers, which seem to bring up more questions. Blue Velvet is a timeless film and it looks absolutely superb on Blu Ray. I will happily get lost in this film from time and time again, it's absolutely remarkable. 10/10
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7/10
A mesmerizing piece of cinema with element of masterpiece...
auberus26 July 2004
The sexual revolution in film came some ten years after the label's coinage in the late Sixties. It probably began with Last Tango in Paris. Directed by the acclaimed Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango is notorious for a sex scene involving Marlon and roughly a third of a stick of butter. Theretofore sex in film could potentially be used as a means of revealing the lightest or the darkest character's traits: primarily, vulnerability, instinct, sadism and impulse. Blue Velvet is a good example of a movie using such a dynamic. Blue Velvet is not a film that is easily appreciated. Likewise, it is not a film that is easily forgotten. It is a timeless controversy, and it is a vision demanding attention if not praise.

Set in a small American town, Blue Velvet is a dark, sensuous mystery involving the intertwining lives of four very different individuals. The film's painful realism reminds us that we are not immune to the disturbing events which transpire in Blue Velvet's sleepy community. There is a darker side of life waiting for us all. And as a critic said 'you either think it's dementedly wild at heart or a lost highway to nowhere'. Even some eighteen years after the release of Blue Velvet its vision remains wildly adamant relative to the stride of other works of contemporary noir. There have been many films about suburban crime, but none as dangerously imposing as this. Why is that so?

If Blue Velvet might not be labeled as a masterpiece one has to acknowledge that there are in this movie a lot of so called 'masterpiece element' and if Blue Velvet will never be considered as Mr. Lynch best feature, I personally can see a lot of David Lynch's genius flowing in that movie.

First of all, the way David Lynch makes Blue Velvet increasingly disturbing is a perfect example of how pristine the dynamics of weirdness and tension are built (remember Eraserhead and Elephant Man). Through this process Mr. Lynch indeed deconstructs the audience expectations. The film setting and mood are introduced in an exposition lifted directly from older films (there are numerous references to It's A Wonderful Life). In result the film is initially expected to follow a particular path. The way Mr. Lynch associate elements of classic narrative methodology and 'his dynamics of noir' (previously explained) appears to be original at worst 'avant gardiste' at best.

Second of all, the opposition between the creepiness of the plot and the setting of it is definitely for me a masterpiece element. The film is set in Lumberton. This does not represent a quaint, small town by similarity; it is one. Lumberton is filled with characters that are completely typical. I can almost see the cops eating doughnuts in the coffee shop and the local football star dating the head cheerleader. This typicality is definitely not out of coincidence but of intention. In fact these characters function to punctuate the story, not to distinguish it. The 'infamous' individuality of Lynch's vision is established in the darker side of Lumberton. Our perspective throughout the film is fixed on Jeffery, and is deliberately biased by his good nature. Jeffery is portrayed with great subtlety by Kyle MacLachlan (FBI agent from "Twin Peaks"). He is paired with Sandy (Laura Dern), the daughter of a neighborhood investigator who epitomizes to perfection the 'girl-next-door'; in Blue Velvet it is her literal function. Completing this diverse list of roles is a haunting and brief performance by Dean Stockwell as well as Dennis Hopper who creates a flabbergasting portrait of unrepentant and irredeemable evil. The confrontation or those characters or the collision among themselves makes for a mesmerizing experience.

Once again Mr. Lynch succeeds in the masterful exercise of controlling the audience's attention. Most of us will not quite know what to make of it and we can disagree on the value of such a cinematic experience. However audacious, erotic, disturbing, haunting are adjectives that will always be linked with Blue Velvet. The 'Thriller' has just been re-invented by Mr. Lynch right in front of our eyes.
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10/10
Strange but utterly mesmerising, quite possibly Lynch's masterpiece
TheLittleSongbird5 September 2014
David Lynch is a very love-him-hate-him director, with people fascinated by his style and imagery and others who find his films not easy to follow and too weird for their tastes. As somebody who loves Lynch and a lot of his films(the only one I've disliked is Dune), Blue Velvet is up there at the top. The Elephant Man(never has there been a film that moved me more) may be my personal favourite but Blue Velvet is quite possibly Lynch's masterpiece. Loved Mulholland Drive as well, but it is not as accessible as Elephant Man or Blue Velvet- films that even those who aren't fans of Lynch are likely to love- and is his most polarising most likely.

Blue Velvet is an incredible-looking film. All of Lynch's films are beautifully shot and that is true of Blue Velvet as well, and the imagery is both hauntingly surreal and beautiful, all the different colours really popping out at you. The music is hypnotic with a very haunting undercurrent and really adds to the story's strangeness and mystery elements. The script is thoughtful and cohesive with a dose of weird but subtle humour as well as some deliberately not so subtle parts(especially with villain Frank Booth). The atmosphere created is the very meaning of scintillating and suspense levels are to the maximum. The story- one of the most coherent and accessible of any Lynch film- is always interesting and entertaining, the detective story elements are genuinely suspenseful and at times scary, Lynch has never directed a tenser scene than the climax here.

Lynch's direction is superb; along with Mulholland Drive it contains some of his best. The characters all serve a point to the story and they are very interestingly written, in the case of Frank Booth, one of the most evil and fascinating villains on films, iconic. The acting is superb as well, especially with Dennis Hopper who's terrifyingly sadistic and sometimes hilarious, he is very over the top but in a gleefully enjoyable way. Kyle MacLachlan has never been in a better film or given a better performance than here, he's certainly not had a character as interesting either, Laura Dern is great and sensual Isabella Rossellini has a challenging role that she plays to truly devastating effect. Look out for an oddball but memorable appearance from Dean Stockwell as well. Overall, a strange but utterly mesmerising masterpiece. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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8/10
Wicked take on small-town America
Agent1014 May 2002
Back in the days when David Lynch's movies used to be coherent, this film proves to be one of the most powerful in a long line of odd and strange films. I felt all of the actors were exceptional in this film, reflecting the power and evil in Dennis Hopper's character. I can't see anyone else in this role, and Hopper proved once again he is the go-to guy when it comes to portraying a lunatic. Lynch's cinematography and artistic endeavors fit in so perfectly with each other, the film reeks of noir and suspense. An excellent film to watch for any first time Lynch watchers.
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8/10
Only in dreams…
AdFin21 April 2002
With Blue Velvet, David Lynch made a film that was so pure to his original vision that it would become the archetype of his work for the next fifteen years. Here, Lynch cast his ever probing, surrealist gaze upon small town middle America, and for the first time in a US film, showed the audience the darker side to what was often depicted as nothing more than the birth place of apple pie. We are drawn into the story almost immediately, with what would seem like a simple depiction of small town life, but the use of slow-motion hints that there is something not quite right with what we are looking at. So by the time Lynch has pushed his camera through the soft green grass of a regular front lawn, only to show us the slithering insects that hide in the darkness, we know that we are about to enter a very dark world.

Blue Velvet is a world filled with not only darkness, but also ambiguity. The characters of this world are constantly hiding behind some kind of façade, be it the wardrobe doors that practicing teenage voyeur Jeffrey peers from behind as he watches Dorothy and Frank interact, or something as simple as the make-up worn by Ben. Everything suggests to us that these characters inhabit a world at night, a world away from the life they live in the day. As the film moves closer and closer to the climax Jeffrey begins to feel more of a connection with Frank, having to go to some very dark places within his psyche. However Lynch's message, that underneath the normal persona of a regular human being is a repressed pervert laying in wait, or whatever point he is making doesn't really translate well. Not least to today's audience.

Blue Velvet is very much a film of its time, that time being the mid-eighties, with aids paranoia everywhere, it's easy to see this metaphor for the dangers of sex and love within the films turgid dreamscapes. But beneath this message hides a strong detective story, a modern day neo-noir that delivers interesting twists and a controversial pay-off with it's almost fairytale climax. This is the film David Lynch got right, proceeding to make great films that where all personal, but completely different in terms of style and substance from one another. Blue Velvet is a great film, with some fine (albeit bizarre) performances, still challenging to this day, If only Lynch hadn't gone on to spend the rest of his career re-making it.
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6/10
What's it all about, David?.
lastliberal16 September 2007
One has to watch a David Lynch movie just to say you have seen one. This was actually nominated for an Academy Award and won many others, so it is probably as good as any to see. I tried Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, but couldn't get more than a couple of scenes before I gave up. I was able to hang in there for this.

There has to be something there, but I just don't get it. The man has four Academy Award nominations for his films. He must be doing something that I just don't see.

Closeups of bugs in the grass or the inside of an ear is not stirring cinematography to me.

An example of the dialog you have to endure in this film:

Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan): You're a neat girl. Sandy Williams (Laura Dern): So are you... I mean, you're a neat guy.

This wasn't random, but typical. And, what's with the "chicken walk"?

Maybe some think it is worth enduring to see Isabella Rossellini nude walking like a zombie.

I was worth enduring just to know what a David Lynch film is like, and to avoid them in the future.
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10/10
The definition of a must-see movie
fizz_2823 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Although I was once inclined to agree with Roger Ebert's dismissal of "Blue Velvet" as a shocking albeit skillful and artistically stylish montage of pointless images, symbolism and effects, I've had to do a 360 turnaround after seeing it on DVD after all this years and reconsidering it in relation to some similar texts. The film certainly makes sense in comparison with a quest narrative such as Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and in light of Freud's ideas about love as well as Nietzsche's thoughts on the Dionysian self. It's also a film that pays constant homage to Hitchcock's best work, notably "Vertigo", "Rear Window" and "Psycho," in its preoccupation with spectator psychology and voyeurism.

Basically, Blue Velvet is about the rites of passage of a young man after a descent into the underworld of his home-town. However, the man emerges from his experience neither sadder nor wiser. Instead, Lynch cynically reprises the film's innocent opening with its hopelessly artificial, Pollyannish, post-card pastoral idyl that is most likely the preferred reality of the American mainstream movie consumer. At the same time, he preserves the tenuousness of such a naive vision with the shot of a deliberately artificial insect impaled on a robin's beak and with a soundtrack that subjects the theme song to a disturbing treatment out of some internal, subterranean sound studio.

This film has so many meanings, it would be exhausting to write even half. People, especially the detractors of the film, should give up on saying that there is nothing at the center of the film, and that it is merely pretentious art. Like I said, it has so many meanings that it would take me forever to write even a few with the limited amount of paragraph space I have. Jeffrey, our hero, confronts at first, mortality (his father stricken by a life-threatening stroke), then a severed, decaying human ear in a field. The ear, the organ of hearing, is also the sense that fully awakens only in the dark, granting access to the Dionysian, deep intuitive wellsprings of the self. But the ear we see on screen has become a diseased, useless instrument in a "sunny" culture whose idea of music is Bobby Vinton's version of "Blue Velvet." The ear is Jeffrey's passage into the underworld. Thus, as he sees the ear, before he enters the underworld, the camera zooms into the ear. At the end of the film, when Jeffrey has confronted his demons and been through the ordeal within the underworld, the camera zooms out of the ear to represent what has happened.

Blue Velvet is David Lynch's magnum-opus. Dennis Hopper once said that it was America's first surrealist film, however I'd give his earlier, more unknown work "Eraserhead" this title. Blue Velvet is probably, however, the most famous example. I highly recommend this film, whether or not your going to enjoy it is completely out of the question, as long as you see this. It's a life changing experience and a masterpiece.
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10/10
It's a strange world..
ruthierocks7 October 2008
I have a lot of respect for David Lynch. The man gets a lot of flack for being "too weird," but I don't know when that became a derogatory comment. Weird, in the film industry, often translates to originality. Blue Velvet is not at all lacking in originality. This isn't your typical mystery-thriller. In fact, its genre is a bit hard to define. It has moments of dramatic intensity, as well as scenes that contain biting humorous undertones. It's safe to say this was controversial in the 80s, as it still holds a bit of shock factor in retrospect. Blue Velvet is an accomplishment of a lifetime. Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead are often referred to as Lynch's masterpieces, but to me, Blue Velvet defines Lynch's career.

In one of the best openings I've ever seen, Blue Velvet begins by showing us a typical suburban neighborhood: white picket fences, beautiful gardens, nice houses. Immediately following, we're shown what's below the surface: the ground is being overtaken by bugs that resemble cockroaches. This simple scene foreshadows the rest of the film. What we're shown here is a simple little town, seemingly happy on the outside. However, when you probe below the surface of anything good, you may find something you didn't expect.

After his father collapses with what I assume was a heart attack, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns to Lumberton from college. Jeffrey is your typical young man: he's a nice kid, fairly naïve. As he walks through an empty field, he finds something strange. On the ground, he discovers a severed human ear. He brings it into a detective he is familiar with. The detective is the father of Sandy (Laura Dern), a high school senior who Jeffrey knew from school. The two of them are curious about the ear. After overhearing her father's discussion with a coworker, Sandy informs Jeffrey that the investigation led them to a woman named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini). Jeffrey and Sandy search further and eventually find out where Dorothy's apartment is located. Sandy is unsure, but Jeffrey is determined to crack the case. At his insistence, Sandy helps Jeffrey devise a plan to break into Dorothy's apartment. What they didn't expect was for Jeffrey to find himself locked in Dorothy's closet in a scene that has been given countless homage. This is where Jeffrey uncovers more information: Dorothy is being controlled, mentally and sexually, by a sadistic man named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who has kidnapped her husband and child.

Dennis Hopper's entrance into Blue Velvet is intense and his character is among the most terrifying in film history. This is where the entire mood of the film changes. No longer is this a simple detective story about two kids trying to crack a case. As Jeffrey watches Frank's power over Dorothy, he becomes sucked in. Eventually, he becomes personally involved with the two. Insanity ensues. As Jeffrey's world view changes, his actions become more and more like Frank's. This transformation is well conceived and believable.

As far as acting is concerned, Blue Velvet contains some top notch performances, mostly by actors who never really got their due. Kyle MacLachlan is perfect as Jeffrey. He has that golden boy look that makes his innocent naivety believable, but he's not too square that his transformation is not believable. I truly believe that Kyle was gypped out of a great career. With this, Twin Peaks, and The Hidden, the man should have ended up with better. Either way, this is a career defining performance, one that any actor should be proud of. Isabella Rossellini is just as good. It's truly impossible to not feel anything for this character: a woman whose life is truly out of her hands. The movie wouldn't have been what it was without Dennis Hopper, whose perfect portrayal of Frank Booth is like evil personified. He's wonderful in this role: truly someone to be afraid of, but with some lines that are strangely amusing. Laura Dern is very believable as innocent, young Sandy. She adds a little something to the film, showing the contrast between true innocence and depravity.

Another thing I love about Blue Velvet is, as I mentioned before, the genre bending. Although I'd call this a drama above all, it is impossible to ignore the comedy. Among the funniest scene is near the beginning, when Jeffrey brings the ear to the detective, at which point the detective proclaims, "Yep, that's a human ear all right." Equally funny is the background radio announcer, "Logs, logs, logs. It's 1:30 as the tree falls here in Lumberton." David Lynch's strange sense of humor is another reason why this film is what it is. There are elements of a thriller. Frank is a terrifying character; he's a person whose actions are impossible to predict. The majority of the violence occurs off screen, but this does not make it any less intense. Blue Velvet also, strangely, has elements of romance. It is, like most Lynch films, impossible to place into one distinct category.

I have few problems with this film. The only thing I can really complain about is the fact that it moved pretty fast, sometimes not allowing for enough characterization before certain events transpire. With a running length of around two hours, Blue Velvet feels a little short. I've read that the original cut was nearly four hours, so it's very likely that a lot was lost in the editing process. I have to wonder if it would have been even more amazing if Lynch had left it in its full, four hour form.

Even with it's few problems, Blue Velvet is an astonishingly beautiful, completely coherent film. Nearly perfect film-making, it is chilling, funny, and bittersweet at the end. Blue Velvet is an enduring film, and one of my personal favorites.

10/10, my #7 of all time
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10/10
David Lynch is the master of regression in service of the ego.
django_jones5 March 2002
David Lynch is the master of regression in service of the ego on film. He first established this fact with "Eraserhead" and continued his journey through off-beat realms in "Wild at Heart" and "Lost Highway". By this I mean his subjects examine the depths of human depravity and malaise. Bordering on psychosis and self indulgence he nevertheless draws the viewer into his personal surrealism.

With "Blue Velvet" he introduces a new eeriness to the screen that almost seems symbolic at times, but is actually fascinatingly bizarre and just beyond comprehension in much the same fashion as the imagery of a nightmare. My first viewing of the film led me to conclude that the characters were all projections of the protagonist's personailty. It all leads to a scary journey and a tattered shattering tale. A flawed but seemingly original creation.
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10/10
An entrancing one of a kind film 9/10 or 10/10
WalterSoprano1 December 2014
To immediately weed out anybody who may not end up liking this film I tell you that the film is very surreal and bizarre and has some disturbing sex scenes. Now if any of those things make you hate a film than steer clear, however if you aren't squeamish with those subject matters then you are in for a great time with this one of a kind film. When you watch it you imediatley can see how this film is unlike any other all rom the surrealism to the acting. Plus you have a crazy Dennis Hopper giving maybe his best performance as the most bizarre and memorable villain to be put into film.

The reason I call this film entrancing was because some scenes did just that they put you into what seemed to be a trance. For example when Dean Stockwells character Ben mimicks singing in dreams it's just so bizarre yet entrancing, fans of the film will understand. However this film even after weeding out the subject matters from the beginning of my review this is still a very different film and is not for anybody. But to fans of film who want to explore all types of films then you need to check this film out whether you enjoy it or not because this film on its own is practically it's own genre.

In conclusion most fans of film will enjoy this just as I stated above but I can't speak for everybody. If I had to say this film is on the border of ten and nine for me. There's probably a lot of people who didn't enjoy this but that's the whole part of seeing for yourself. Thanks for reading my review and enjoy the film.
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9/10
Oh my god...
scooter1073 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Going into it, the less hype you hear, good or bad, the better. You hear all these things about "it" and when you actually watch "it" for the first time, all that profound analysis or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays can be not unlike a rowdy theater, full of a motley crew of chattering chatter boxes, all making their own shadow puppets on the screen and all in the discomfort of you're already crowded head device mark 12. This means this, that means that, this is wrong, thats right, Colonel Muster with the candle stick... aye yai yai, calgon take me away. Thankfully I saw this movie before I heard to much about it, or even Lynch himself for that matter (whom many seem to see as some kind of fly by night charlatan for some utterly creepy reason, I figure it's sexual jealousy).

All I had was five bucks in my pocket, a blockbuster card, brutal loneliness and a heart full of napalm. It was like some bizarre friend I'd been waiting for without even knowing I was waiting, that was equally adept at making me laugh as making me cry, and in that, I am truly in debt to it in some zany, cooky kind of way. I can say without risk of hyperbole it was one of the most satisfying and powerful cinematic experiences I've had since I was a child (these results are not typical, no refunds.) It seems unfair that the only thing I can give back for that experience is mere praise (we'll try to work on that.) If you have yet to watch it, stop reading all the reviews right now and see it for yourself. You may love it, you may hate it, you may have cheap sex with it and not call it the next day, but it's a swell enough movie to where those are largely the only choices you'll have, he said somewhat cautiously. True, there have been some wonderful and thought provoking things said about this film, in it's praise and in it's opposite, but they're not worth you're dime till you've seen it for you're self and have drawn you're own conclusions, and maybe not even then. For me, the film largely stops when the end credits run, and I don't need anybody telling me why I should like it or despise it, for I have seen the mountian, and it is good.

Many intellectual types (possibly qualified as hard nosed intellectual elitists, who, like red necks, despise what they can't understand.) can't stand Lynch because they have a hard time making heads or tails of his work, but oh the folly, if only they would sit back and allow themselves to feel the film, instead of trying to figure it out as if it is was as simple as some mathematical problem. They listen but they do not hear, eat but do not taste, shift but do no shimmy, etc. etc., blah, blah, blah. I don't care if it's all a gimmick or a bowl of broccoli, it's worth something to me.

In summary, I loved this movie, I'm glad it was made instead of not, and if you're cool, you'll like it too.
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Penny and Pudding Find Happiness
tedg10 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Peter Greenaway wishes he made this film, which is pretty high praise indeed.

And that's the most puzzling thing about `Blue Velvet.' Lynch's talent here is in connecting his imagination directly to the viewer's mind without benefit of structure or coherence -- much in the line of Eisenstein and Tarkovsky.

Greenaway is all about coherence, a particularly intelligent notion of coherence. What Lynch did in `Mulholland Drive' had a novel structure, something missing here. As a result, I consider this much the inferior project. What we have here is the intuitive link, the effect only. The control of style but not yet of narrative.
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2/10
What a lot of overrated garbage
american_psycho4726 March 2008
Okay, the reason I gave one of the most overrated movies of all time 2/10 was purely because of the fact that Dennis Hopper stars, and semi-saves the film from being a total disaster. It is its ONLY redeeming quality. Alright, well the visuals were somewhat impressive. He should be applauded for giving this kind of challenging material a go. I have seen MANY erotic thrillers; none have been as self-serious and pretentious as this. Adding complicated (but meaningless) symbolism into a film does not make it any more complex, let alone save the film from being soft-core porn. You still have the sex, the degrading excessive nudity (especially on poor Isabella Rossellini's behalf). Heck, this has 7.8 (and an arithmetic mean of 7.9), Basic Instinct has a lot in common with this. They are both infamous and well-recognized films thanks to their graphic sex that really don't deserve half the attention they receive. However, Basic Instinct has a more deserving but still disappointingly high rating of 6.8

If your tastes are morose and perverse, Blue Velvet is for you. But don't take it as the classic many people (and to my shock and horror, established critics) make it out as today. This may be unforgettable, but this does not secure the fact that its good. Its unforgettable in a bad way, which is probably why so many people know if it today (very similar to the previously mentioned Basic Instinct). A major waste of talent, time and critical support this is. If you want to see Lynch, see my personal favourite "Lost Highway", "Eraserhead" or view "Twin Peaks". These works are far more intellectually fitting and there sole purpose isn't to shock there viewers.
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3/10
Stylish Cinematic Junk
Lechuguilla20 January 2009
It has its good points. When Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) sings the title song in the club, the film exudes wonderful atmosphere. Other oldies-but-goodies songs also are enjoyable to listen to. And the film's color cinematography, with its vibrant hues, is quite effective. Otherwise, this film is just awful.

Set in small town America in the early 1960s, the film opens with a young man named Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) who finds a human ear, while strolling through the woods one day. Jeffrey's curiosity propels the plot through a convoluted story involving strange characters, sex, drugs, and murder. It's all rather seedy. And the film's excessive violence is annoying.

The story's inciting incident is not remotely plausible. The plot makes no sense. Some of the dialogue is sophomoric. And the characters are dreadful. The Frank Booth character (Dennis Hopper) is so outlandish as to be cartoonish. His use of an oxygen mask is nothing but a gimmick. Hopper makes matters worse by overplaying the role. The Ben character (Dean Stockwell) is bizarre, and not in a good way. And Dorothy is an emotional wreck, whiny and easily manipulated.

The film's casting and acting are wretched. Kyle MacLachlan is as bad in this film as he was in "Dune" (1984). He's bland, lacks suitable expressiveness, and is annoyingly nerdy. If he were any stiffer, he could pass for a mannequin. I don't know who was worse: dull MacLachlan or farcical Dennis Hopper. Rossellini tries to act, but her performance comes across as comically melodramatic which, when combined with Hopper's histrionics, renders scenes that are unintentionally funny.

The film's moody atmosphere makes for suitable cinematic style. But the script, the direction, the casting, and the acting are so bad that the end result is a cartoon for spaced-out adults. And the emphasis on gratuitous violence suggests that Director David Lynch was making an effort to distract viewers from the film's hokey contrivances. I'd say he succeeded rather well.
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3/10
Meaningless emptiness portrayed in a meaningless, empty way.
mschaub014 February 2003
How does a superb talent produce great, meaning-laden art when the true world is a small, irrational, nothingness? That is David Lynch's great dilemma. He himself has said as much: "People can't accept the meaninglessness of life." But how can one become a great painter, when the only color is black and everyone is blind?

Fortunately for Lynch, he's wrong about "people." The great tragedy of our days is that so many people DO accept that life is meaningless. So his attempted rebellions against "the ordinary" become, instead, financially successful, critically acclaimed icons of our empty lives. Poor David, instead of a starving, tortured Van Gogh, he becomes the popular Norman Rockwell of nihilism, the central freak in our favorite sideshow of moral dwarves and genetically defective imaginations.... all the way to the bank.

As a result, there is an essentially pornographic character to his films, especially this one. No, not the sex, or even the sexual perversion. But the evil.

Many years ago, a young homosexual told me he saw gays as divided into two groups: fairies and queers. The fairies were homosexual because they were attracted to men. The queers were attracted to men because they were attracted to homosexuality -- it was perverse. This is the universal attraction of the pornographic, as opposed to the erotic. The excitement of the forbidden, the abnormal, the hidden. The Queer.

In Blue Velvet, David Lynch's favorite Queer is evil, and he treats us to two hours of figurative strip tease with her. This is the dilemma of the conventional nihilist: He is repelled by evil, because of his normal upbringing, and yet his convictions tell him there is no good or evil. There is no valid reason to be repelled by this Queer (because there is really no valid reason for anything). Yet he is repelled, but also attracted. He must come back to watch her strip again and again.

In the end, twentieth-century nihilists such as Lynch and his fans cannot successfully suppress their moral imagination and their demand for meaning in life, just as nineteenth-century Victorians could not suppress their sexuality and passion. Any vision or program based upon such fundamental misunderstandings of human nature is doomed to failure. Reality leaks through the facade. Then the culture's most popular pornography points to its biggest lies.

Thus, 1886 gave us "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and 1986 gave us "Blue Velvet." The difference seems to be that R.L. Stevenson knew what he was doing, consciously portraying the neuroses of his time, while Lynch appears to be without a clue. As a result, in 2086 "Jekyll and Hyde" will still be read as literature, but "Blue Velvet" will only be studied as a cultural artifact of the 20th century, not as art.

So, do you want to see this movie? Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do I suffer from major depression, bi-polar disorder, or schizophrenia?

If "yes," avoid this movie, and under no circumstances watch it alone. [This is NOT a joke; it is medical advice. I myself take medication for recurring major depression. Suicide is permanent.]

2) (A) Am I embarrassed for the President when he simplistically calls the 9-11 terrorists "evil-doers," without trying to understand their grievances and culture?

If "yes," BUY a copy of this movie. You'll watch it again and again.

If "no," ask yourself:

2) (B) Would I like to watch a talented actor (Dennis Hopper) give a spellbinding portrayal of a truly evil human being?

If "yes," you may want to watch this. Just realize that, like most rape victims, you'll want to spend an hour in the shower afterwards. I recommend that, instead, you watch the massively underrated Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear (1962) or The Night of the Hunter (1955).

Regardless of your answers above, if you're intellectually curious, if you'd like to know what Lynch is really trying to say, borrow this movie for free from somewhere and watch it until the shot of the bugs. Then turn it off. You'll have gotten his point. You'll only have invested a few minutes of your time. And you won't have to wash your hands afterwards.

Finally, if you want a better understanding of the cultural neuroses that produced this movie, I recommend two surprisingly unrelated books, both by undisputed masters of English prose. The first, "The Abolition of Man" by C.S. Lewis, is an essay on human nature masquerading as a treatise on the philosophy of education. It's a much lighter and more entertaining read than that capsule summary sounds. The second, "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers, is formally the story of his life, his work as a spy, his break with the Communist Party, and his exposure of his fellow spies. But the book is actually an impassioned memoir of his own spiritual struggles against 20th century moral nihilism.

[All scholars of all political stripes agree that archives declassified since the end of the Cold War conclusively show that Chambers was telling the truth about himself, Hiss, and the other Communist spies. So we can now read "Witness" without worrying about who was really lying. We know Hiss was lying.]

My rating: 3 out of 10. [Dennis Hopper: 8 of 10. David Lynch: on a scale of 0 to 10, -5]
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1/10
Blue Vomit
rooprect30 April 2005
After hearing all the hype of how this is an artistic, intellectual & enigmatic film, I figured I would love it to death. Instead, I found myself *wishing* for death.

Roger Ebert got it right when he called it "a story that's marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots. The director is either denying the strength of his material or trying to defuse it by pretending it's all part of a campy in-joke."

It begins impressively with excellent cinematic technique and symbolism, but as soon as the first words are spoken, the film begins to sag with ridiculous, predictable and juvenile dialogue. The plot itself is tediously linear and simple, like an average Hardy Boys episode: high school kids take on the criminal underworld!

But, oh, this is no Hardy Boys episode. Director David Lynch made sure of that, by injecting plenty of profanity, gore, and nudity. (And just as an aside to all you drooling fans of Isabella Rosselini... TRUST me, she & her beer-belly look awful in this movie! Save yourselves the shattered fantasies.)

The scenes are extremely clumsy and overt, as if Lynch doesn't give us enough credit for figuring it out ourselves. I'll give you one example: In one scene, Laura Dern and Dune Boy (forgot his name) are sitting in a car in front of a church. Laura starts talking about her dream of God. The music switches to a church pipe organ. Then they drive off, and the camera zooms in on the church and holds the frame for 3 full seconds. (...hmmm, d'ya git the feelin he's a-trying to tell us sumthin? I dunno, Vern. Lez rewind it and watch it again.)

True, compared to the Hollywood tripe that was the standard in 1986, _Blue Velvet_ is unique. But that doesn't mean it's good. I would advise you to watch Lynch's 1990 film _Wild at Heart_ in which he achieved a greater degree poetry, having refined his style somewhat. Well, you have been warned!
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