Blue Velvet (1986)

 

Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet
Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet

 “I’m seeing something that was always hidden.
I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret”

After spending the other evening immersed in the seedy underbelly of 1960’s London (thanks to ‘Peeping Tom’) it’s time for a change of pace. Tonight it’s Blue Velvet, a look at the seedy underbelly of 1980’s small town America. Hmmm… there definitely seems to be a theme developing here.

David Lynch’s 1986 labour of ‘love’ (he took a hefty pay cut in exchange for complete creative control and final cut) works even though it probably shouldn’t. In turns disturbing, violent and masochistic it features a voyeuristic protagonist (Kyle MacLachlan in only his second film role), a psychopathic force of nature (Dennis Hopper, straight out of rehab), a damaged and almost deranged victim (Isabella Rossellini in only her second English speaking role) and sweet girl-next-door (Laura Dern).

Surreal and, at times, extremely uncomfortable – the scene that includes Dean Stockwell (“Ben, you are so fucking suave!”) miming to ‘Candy Coloured Clown’ easily ranks as one of the most claustrophobic ever filmed – the movie is also, surprisingly, quite tender in places. The scene between MacLachlan’s Jeffrey and Rossellini’s Dorothy in the last act (he’s returning from a wholesome date while she’s naked and in near hystrics) is both shocking and strangely sweet – he really believes he can save her and she sees him as her only hope.

With so many conflicting and disparate elements (including a barking-mad performance from Hopper) the film should be a mess but Lynch holds all the pieces together well. I only wish someone had shown him what a real robin looks like. That robot-looking thing at the end doesn’t look look any robin I’ve ever seen.

Blue Velvet Blu-ray cover

Blue Velvet at IMDB

Blue Velvet at AMAZON

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