“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 at IMDB
Blue Velvet at AMAZON