Sunday, 23 December 2012
Blue Velvet (1986) - ★★★½
Writers: David Lynch
Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern
"It's a strange world, isn't it," is the line that best describes Blue Velvet. What a strange imagination David Lynch must have to create the disturbing and intriguing world that is this film. It started with a severed ear in a field and turned into something much more interesting, and way more disturbing. If there is one fault that I can find with Blue Velvet, it would have to be that at times it can be too uncomfortable to watch, thus losing its entertainment factor. However, I can appreciate what is great about this film, which is just about everything.
Basically, the story is both a thriller and a mystery. When young Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) finds an ear in a field, he decides to investigate it with his love interest Sandy (Laura Dern). He is eventually led to the apartment of a mystifying singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), who sings the song Blue Velvet everytime she performs. Things start getting stranger as the mystery unfurls, as gangster Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) joins the frame of the mystery. Throughout the film we see Jeffrey delve deeper into this dark world that people didn't know existed in their sleepy town.
This may sound strange, but for me the most enjoyable part of the movie was everytime the song Blue Velvet started playing. I loved Isabella's rendition of the beautiful song, and at times it heighted scenes into becoming masterpieces of cinema. We are basically seeing two worlds in this film: the world we think we know (which is suburban neighbourhood chit chat); and the darker side that hides in the shadows of the night (gangsters and people with mental issues). It's interesting because it shows that anything could be happening behind the closed doors of our neighbors, but we just don't know it.
Isabella Rossellini was the clear star of the film. She was absolutely magnificent as Dorothy, who is a deeply conflicted woman caught in the world of an insane gangster. I loved her performance, it's no surprise that this is one of the most memorable characters in movie history. The same goes for Dennis Hopper, who played one of the most insane, unique and downright disturbing gangsters I've ever seen. These two stole the film from the rest of the cast, which is to be expected with thier talent.
The crudeness of the film sets it apart from most, yet it takes away the enjoyment of watching it. Overall, that is Blue Velvet's downfall. There is nothing entertaining about seeing a woman being beaten and practically raped, even if it is to reinforce the sadistic characteristics of the 'bad guy.' I just feel like the messages could have been told in a more intelligent way. In the end, this film was rivetting and mystifying, making it highly enjoyable for the most part. I think it's a great film, but it isn't "amazing."