Wednesday 26 December 2012

Blue Velvet [1986]

Blue Velvet, David Lynch’s cult classic, painted a discomfiting and disorienting picture of the sordid underbelly of the mythical American Dream. Hence, as can be expected, it generated intensely polarizing reactions upon its release. It opens with a lush and idyllic vision of an upper middle-class suburb, the irony of which is gradually revealed thereafter. Jeffrey (Kyle Maclachlan), a dreamy young man fresh out of college, stumbles upon a chopped ear upon returning to his place of residence. Like a conscientious citizen he reports the matter to the police, but he also starts a parallel investigation of his own out of sheer curiosity. Stoked by the anecdotes provided by the cop’s naïve daughter Sandy (Laura Dern) and his latent craving for voyeurism, he decides to stalk on the beautiful, vulnerable and enigmatic night-club singer Dorothy (Isabella Rosellini), and before long finds himself plunging headlong into a nightmarish netherworld of drugs, violence, fetishism, sadomasochism, kidnapping and murder. Though his middle-class sensibilities make him fall for the uptight good-girl Sandy, his baser instincts make him sexually and perversely obsessed by the much older Dorothy, who is regularly abused by the hideous, psychopathic, nitrous-smoking Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). Frank’s raging lunacy was brought forth by Hopper’s gleefully over-the-top performance, making him an evil incarnate and one of the most frightening screen villains, while Rosellini’s physical and emotional nakedness and the lilting title song, laced the film with a sense of mournfulness at loss of innocence. The film, however, retains its ability to shock mainstream audience even today on account of its grotesque vision, extreme violence and disturbing themes.

Director: David Lynch
Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller/Mystery/Post Noir
Language: English
Country: US


Sam Juliano said...

Yes, Hopper's Frank Booth is one of the great screen villains Shubhajit, and this perverse, atmospheric gem from David Lynch is in my opinion his masterpiece. (I know many would say MULLHOLLAND DRIVE is.) This is a classic Lynchian exercise in the fear lurking beneath the surface. of course there's quite a bit of twisted humor here and memorable lines. One of a kind.

Excellent review!

Shubhajit said...

Personally, I loved Mulholland Drive more. But Blue Velvet does make a strong case for his best work. And in Hopper's Booth we truly had human incarnate of the devil. Thanks Sam for sharing your appreciation of this memorably dark film.