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*** This review may contain 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.
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
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.
There is far more to 'Blue Velvet' than meets the eye. You can't label
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)
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
"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.
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.
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!)
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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