Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Jack Nance
Seen on: 10.5.2016
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear in his neighborhood. He brings it to the police but then finds himself too intrigued by the mystery to leave the investigation up to them. Hoping to find out more, he visits Detective Williams (George Dickerson) at home, but – unsurprisingly – Williams is unwilling to share. His daughter Sandy (Laura Dern), though, points Jeffrey to a mysterious night club singer, Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) who is mixed up with the wrong kind of people, led by Frank (Dennis Hopper). And soon Jeffrey finds himself in over his head as well.
I haven’t seen much of Lynch’s work (yet), but Blue Velvet was my favorite so far, the first one I really fell in love with. It’s a thing of weirdness, beauty and intricacy with mesmerizing performances. How could I not?
Blue Velvet is certainly a strange film (though far from as strange as Eraserhead), in its juxtaposition of the idyllic suburban life that seems to come straight from Penny Lane and the seedy underbelly that is just around the corner and filled with larger than life characters all the way through. It’s dangerous and exciting and it’s not surprising that Jeffrey finds himself drawn to it, and Dorothy who functions as a bridge between both worlds for him. But it’s also not surprising when it turns out that he very much misjudged the people around him – and the dangers they represent to himself. MacLachlan’s wide-eyed and determined take on Jeffrey is a sight to behold.
The tension that can be felt here is masterfully handled by Lynch. The film moves at a slow pace, but that doesn’t mean it has to be slack at any point. Even when the movie shows its sense of humor – and there is quite a bit of that – the underlying threat remains and can’t be let go of that easily. This mix is epitomized in Dennis Hopper’s performance: at once overblown, ridiculous, funny, scary and simply very effective.
But the film’s real magic lies in its music and the performances that we get to experience. Both Rossellini’s take on Blue Velvet and Dean Stockwell’s lipsynching of Roy Orbison’s In Dreams are utterly enthralling, providing both a framework for the film and the moments when the film seems to remove itself from reality entirely and floats away.
I can understand if people don’t get into it and find it too strange. But for me, Blue Velvet lets something run free that is too often forced on well-worn paths for the sake of efficacy. And I loved to see it run.