Directed by: David Lynch
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern,
Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper
Once in a while, a movie comes along that is just so dark, so avant-garde I must talk about it. Sure, if I see a good movie, I'll talk about it to my friends or family, telling them that they have to see it. But none of those movies have impacted me like Blue Velvet.
When I first saw Blue Velvet, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard about its notorious scene in which one of its characters is beaten and violated by a nitrous oxide huffing pervert. I will admit I was hesitant to watch this movie, even though I had rented it to watch. The only other times I've felt that way about movies would have to be while watching Irreversible and Happiness, two incredible but very unsettling movies. I guess you could say it was love at first sight.
Before I watched Blue Velvet, I had only read Roger Ebert's scathing review, so I was semi put off. It was only I saw this movie that I realized that like many reviewers who watch most movies, they might see a good movie through the wrong lens or vise versa. However, me telling you how good this movie is is not nearly as effective or leaves as much of an impact then you watching it yourself. And to those who have watched Blue Velvet will agree.
Blue Velvet starts with a scene that takes the style of suburbia in the 1950's and warps it to all dimensions. In the first five minutes, we travel to Lumberton, a town that echoes the cheesy postcards one picks up at a gift shop. Idyllic, calm, homely. So of course you know Lynch will screw it up and erase the line between normalcy and the bizarre. When we arrive at Lumberton, Mr. Beaumont is watering his green garden, when suddenly, he has a near fatal stroke. Instead of having him simply collapse, his dog comes over and proceeds to slobber up the water from the still running hose, making Mr. Beaumont practically invisible. But that's not all, his son, Jeffery(Kyle MacLachlan in the boy next door role...except next door probably is home to a sadist.) finds an ear in a field. Showing it to Detective Williams, who declares "That's a human ear all right. " Jeffery immediately catches the eye of his daughter Sandy.(A very young, bright eyed Laura Dern) What Sandy knows that her father doesn't is who the ear might belong to. Enter Dorothy Vallens and you've got one sick movie.
Dorothy Vallens(Played by the frail Isabella Rossellini) is a night club singer turned sex slave to one of cinema's most horrific and grotesque villains, Frank Booth.(An Eerie Dennis Hopper) Frank is a perverted, sadistic, laughing gas addict who alienates anyone he touches and infects with his sick spell. He has Dorothy's husband and son, and unfortunately he 'owns' Dorothy as well. Jeffery now has to save Dorothy from Frank and get to the bottom of this barb wire spider web. And you play the voyeuristic witness to it all, and you can't do anything, only the characters can.
At one point in the movie Sandy says: "I had a dream. In fact, it was on the night I met you. In the dream, there was our world, and the world was dark because there weren't any robins and the robins represented love. And for the longest time, there was this darkness. And all of a sudden, thousands of robins were set free and they flew down and brought this blinding light of love. And it seemed that love would make any difference, and it did. So, I guess it means that there is trouble until the robins come." What she means, and I agree with is at the end of a tunnel, there is always a glimmer of light. Which seems to be the overall message of Blue Velvet, It may disturb you, it might disgust you, it might even give you nightmares, but that is how it works its voodoo on you. By horrifying you, bewildering you and making you feel crazy, it helps you feel empathetic and attached to the characters. Regardless of whether you like it or not, it is most definitely a movie you will not forget.