Blue Velvet

"Excellent"

Blue Velvet Review


Credits slowly emerge from undulating blue velvet as Angelo Badalamenti's arousing score fills the soundtrack. Dissolve to clear, blue skies, clean white picket fences, budding red roses, and yellow tulips. A man riding on a passing fire truck waves. A uniformed crossing guard holds a stop sign allowing children to safely cross the street.

We pass by an elderly fellow who fluidly waters his lawn. He suddenly clutches his neck in pain and falls to the ground. A dog, intrigued by the hose still erect in his hand, playfully jumps on him and drinks from the stream of water. A toddler, unaware of the emergency, strolls down the driveway. The camera then penetrates deep into the ground, where a swarm of hungry, vicious black bugs lurks beneath the idyllic surface of this picture-perfect neighborhood.

And so begins Blue Velvet, an abrasive, original look at violent and perverted behavior that could have only come from the mind of David Lynch -- the man behind material from Eraserhead to Twin Peaks to Mulholland Drive. His movies always contain recurring themes about identity and subconscious worlds, and this film is no different.

We next see the man at the hospital. His son, Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan), visits him. On his way out, he finds an ear in a field. Yes, a severed human ear. He takes it to a local police detective, who explains information about the investigation will remain unsaid. Luckily, the detective's daughter (Laura Dern), hears something about the case. She takes Jeffrey to a house down the street that belongs to a strange and mysterious nightclub singer (Isabella Rossellini).

Believe it or not, David Lynch puts a lot of symbolism in that ear. Hear this: the dirty, bug infested ear is shown throughout the movie. At one point, the camera travels inside the earlobe. This is when Jeffrey decides to follow his internal impulses and investigate the situation deeper. See the metaphor?

Jeffrey makes investigative plans. When the singer leaves her home, he sneaks inside and hides. She returns, catches him, and threatens him with a kitchen knife. A sick, demented freak named Frank (Dennis Hopper) enters, but not before she tells Jeffrey to hide in the closet. Frank inhales drugs, screams obscenities at the woman, and performs a disturbing act of sexual intercourse. Obviously, Frank is an all-around nice guy.

The events that follow resemble the bugs crawling around the ear. Jeffery meets a variety of corrupt characters (the bugs), and makes the choice to continue to investigate, or exterminate. (Yes, all of that meaning from one little ear, but this is David Lynch we're talking about.) References are also made to The Wizard of Oz. I can only try to figure out where that fits, but you bet Lynch had his reasons.

Blue Velvet stirred with controversy and acclaim during its release in 1986. The film is rather interesting, filled with immense talent and attention to detail. However, it's never actually gripping. The mystery is not very involving, the relationships feel clichéd, and the subplots and side characters often overpower our interest level. But the brutally honest performances, articulate style, and the movie's sexual and violent shock value save the story from becoming too stale or uninspiring.

The film delivers very disturbing, unpleasant material. How disturbing? Val Kilmer, who was originally offered the role of Jeffrey, referred to the script as "pornography." The MPAA also had concern about the film's violence towards women, therefore a scene where Dennis Hopper hits Rossellini was edited so that his hand connects with her face offscreen. In other words, this is not a movie to rent on a date.

For a "Special Edition" DVD, Blue Velvet is awfully light (alas, the movie is so good it's a real must-own). Aside from a few deleted scenes (recreated in a freaky, unwatchable montage of publicity stills) and a very long making-of documentary (actually quite interesting if you're really into Lynch), the disc offers little else aside from Siskel and Ebert's review of the film. Who asked for this is an extra!?



Blue Velvet

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 30th October 1986

Box Office Worldwide: $8.6M

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 55 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dorothy Vallens, as Jeffrey Beaumont, as Frank Booth, as Sandy Williams, as Mrs. Williams, as Ben, as Det. John Williams, as Mrs. Beaumont, as Aunt Barbara, as Mr. Tom Beaumont, Ken Stovitz as Mike, as Raymond, as Paul, J. Michael Hunter as Hunter, Selden Smith as Nurse Cindy

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.