Sunday, January 31, 2021

Blue Velvet

Movie Name:
Blue Velvet
Year of Release: 1986
Director: David Lynch
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rosselini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, Jack Nance, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Brad Dourif, Jack Harvey, Ken Stovitz, J. Michael Hunter, Dick Green
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following the challenging "Dune" project, David Lynch finally had the opportunity to tackle one of his original scripts, with enough budget (his feature directorial debut, "Eraserhead" for instance, was shot for $10,000 as it has been reported). The film follows the story of Jeffrey Beaumont, a college student who comes back home to the small town of Lumberton, following a serious health issue his father experiences. On his way to visit his father in the hospital, and while going across a field, he discovers a severed human ear. After reporting the situation to the police, he strikes a friendly relationship with the lead detective, and upon visiting him and his family at his home, he also becomes close to the detective's daughter, Sandy. Through her, he learns that the case tied with the severed ear involves a nightclub singer by the name Dorothy Vallens. Jeffrey and Sandy start investigating on their own, eventually following Dorothy to her apartment, eventually finding ways to interact with her without raising much suspicion. As Jeffrey infiltrates Dorothy's apartment to uncover more clues, he witnesses a man by the name of Frank coming in and abusing Dorothy. From that moment on they all embark on a dark journey, which reveals a lot more about the life in Lumberton that they never thought was possible.
"Blue Velvet" in a way set the stage for all that "Twin Peaks" became. It's a film that demonstrates that behind the seemingly serene and all too perfect life of a small town and suburbia, there's all sorts of extreme behaviors taking place, including ones that are potentially fatal. It's a film that really explores the underbelly of the Norman Rockwell idolized American way of life, demonstrating that there is a darkness which pervades life in general. David Lynch manages to progressively build a sense of unease as the narrative unfolds, from the early on unexpected seizure Mr. Beaumont experiences, until that seedy, surreal, erotic and violent underbelly explodes when Dennis Hopper's Frank is introduced on screen. It's a film that manages to present itself as a somewhat typical detective story, only to rapidly descend into territories that include trauma, assault, violence, sexual abuse, all within a seemingly innocent small town. This film truly demonstrated the power behind David Lynch's vision, with his multitude of influences, including visual art, music choices and even his always detailed attention to sound design. The cast is also uniformly fantastic and memorable, including the Lynch troupe members, Kyle MacLachlan, Jack Nance and Laura Dern, with great support from the remainder of the cast, including the fantastic Isabella Rosselini, Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, Hope Lance and Brad Dourif. The cinematography from Frederick Elmes is stunning as is the score from David Lynch's usual collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. A classic film always worth revisiting, from one of the most unique voices in cinema.