Dir: David Lynch
18, 115 mins
It’s hard to believe that Blue Velvet is now over 30 years old. The film has never been far away from controversy and still holds up as one of David Lynch’s greatest cinematic achievements.
Although his later Mullholland Drive was recently voted the best film of the 21st Century, Velvet is a very good contender to be of the finer films of the 1980s. It’s still holds up as a brilliantly made, shocking cinematic work that stays with you for days afterwards.
Jeffery Beaumont (played by Kyle MacLachlan) is a jolly teenager, whose father has been taken into hospital. One day, he stumbles upon a human ear along one of his walks. What follows is a dark, twisted journey into the seedy side of small town life. Nothing is ever as it seems and you must accept this in order to delve into the mysteries within…
There are a bounty of great scenes, both exquisite and bone chilling. When Jeffrey hides in Dorothy Vallens’ closet, and witnesses Frank Booth hurtling abuse towards her, we as viewers also become voters in this disturbing vision we can’t take our eyes away from. Every literal punch in the film is also horrifically real, such is the effect of the sound design and swift camerawork.
The opening is infamous and the slow motion of a dog both attacking/quenching it’s thirst is an odd encounter, as the camera then thrusts into the ground to revel in the slime of the insects. This is classic Lynch and sets up the film in a most unexpected way. Those who wish to contextualise would say the bugshot reflects the unseen and disgusting side of the town of Lumberton.
The scene in which Sandy, here Laura Dern confides in Jeffery about her dreams filled with robins of hope, as an organ plays Mysteries of Love. Certainly, the most hopeful moment in the entire film, paired by a moving ending with mostly fulfils the west for hope.
Any scene with Dennis Hopper as Frank is unrelenting in its intimidation and sheer revolution. Few would be foolish enough to say Hopper did a better performance in his whole career. You just know s*** about to get real when he puts on his gas mask filled with god knows what sort of chemicals. MacLachlan is spot on as whacky Jeffrey, a role which bleeds into his stint as Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. Isabella Rossellini is sheer magic as Dorothy, extremely vulnerable and brimming with a sexual vitality rarely scene on film.
Few films are as shocking as Blue Velvet, though ones which trump this can most likely claim to be as well crafted as Blue Velvet. All of the trappings of a Lynch film are here: the giddy Americana, the respect for small town life, WTF moments, teary eyed scenes and of course tributes to trees, as a never ending tribute to his tree surgeon father.
It’s a strange world, isn’t it?
Incredibly disturbing, yet redemptive.
Rating: 5 stars
Twin Leaks shall return to our scenes this May.
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