Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Blue Velvet (1986)
Written & Directed by David Lynch
Isabella Rossellini .... Dorothy Vallens
Kyle MacLachlan .... Jeffrey Beaumont
Dennis Hopper .... Frank Booth
Laura Dern .... Sandy Williams
George Dickerson .... Detective John D. Williams
We open up to the idealistic suburban neighborhood of Lumberton with green grass, red roses, white picket fences, and Bernie Wayne's "Blue Velvet" playing in the background. Seems like a perfectly sane place to live, but as David Lynch shows us, the dark side is all too often hiding just below the surface.
Jeffrey Beaumont has come home from school to help out at the family hardware store following his Father's heart attack. Coming home from the hospital, he finds a grisly discovery in a field near his house: a human ear. He puts it in a small paper bag and delivers it to the hands of Detective Williams at the police department (who reacted all too calmly, if you ask me.) Williams promises a full investigation, but they seem to be getting nowhere.
Intrigued by the mystery, Jeffrey coaxes Sandy, the detective's daughter, out of some privileged information. A nightclub singer by the name of Dorothy Vallens is somehow tied up in the mess. Playing Junior Detective himself, Jeffrey discovers that Dorothy is no suspect but actually a victim. Her husband and son (Don and Donnie) have been kidnapped by a local madman named Frank Booth and Dorothy has been having sex with Frank in order to save their lives. It was Don's ear Jeffrey found in the field, cut off by Frank as a warning.
Inadvertently, Jeffrey finds himself sucked into the seedy underbelly of Lumberton where he sees and partakes in things that haunt him forever after. He also finds himself falling for both Dorothy Vallens and Sandy, one who brings out the good in him and one who brings out the bad. He wants to follow Sandy's advice and go to the police with the information he gathered, but it seems they're involved in this as well.
If the town of Lumberton seems familiar to you, there's a good reason. It's very similar to Lynch's other burg Twin Peaks. You've got the logging trucks, the retro diner, the chanteuse on stage, and Kyle MacLachlan running about sounding philosophical. Had they changed Jeffrey's name to Coop, this could have been a prequel.
Don't let the name fool you. Blue Velvet is a dark and dirty crime drama, thriller and cult classic from the infamous David Lynch. Kyle MacLachlan is dead on as always but Dennis Hopper delivered the standout performance as the screen's most “F-word” obsessed madman. The delivery was slow and deliberate but so well done that you never find yourself bored. In fact, a faster pace would have destroyed a movie of this caliber. It's an excellent introduction to those just discovering the strange world of David Lynch because it's surrealistic enough to seem like a beautiful fever dream but not so much that it remains incomprehensible.
See this movie!
If you own the DVD, go to the main menu and highlight 'Play Movie,' then press 'Left' on your remote control for a short and pointless Easter egg.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: The chicken walk; Double Ed; The Candy Colored Clown They Call The Sandman; That hologram guy from Quantum Leap;
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Isabella Rossellini (Dorothy) was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history in 1995; Kyle MacLachlan and Jack Nance (who played Frank's cronie Paul) both went on to work with David Lynch again in Twin Peaks; Brad Dourif (Frank's other cronie Raymond) voiced Chucky in all 5 of the Child's Play movies;
"Now it's dark..."