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October 8, 2010

3

Blue Velvet

by Franz Patrick


Blue Velvet (1986)
★★★ / ★★★★

The film started off when Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) found an ear in the field during his return to hometown after his father became ill. The protagonist then took the ear to a detective (George Dickerson) and fell in love with his daughter (Laura Dern). The daughter shared some of the information she heard from her father’s office to Jeffrey and the two began spying on a mysterious singer (Isabella Rossellini) that might be involved in murder. Written and directed by David Lynch, being familiar with some of his work, I expected “Blue Velvet” to be strange, fascinating and visceral, but I did not expect to like it because I think his films sometimes feel too mysterious to the point where it’s difficult for me to connect with the reality of the happenings on screen. So I was surprised when I found myself warming up to the characters because they had clearly defined sets of moral codes despite their weird fetishisms and strange reactions to certain revelations. Lynch’s masterful use of tone (and changing it when necessary at the most perfect intervals) reflected the characters’ mindsets when they anticipated something bad about to happen and when they actually faced their biggest fear such as getting caught in the act of doing something illegal or immoral. But what I admired most about “Blue Velvet” was not its philosophical ideas or implications about what was real and what wasn’t. What I admired most was the acting from three fronts: MacLachlan’s, Rossellini’s, and Dennis Hopper’s as the villanous Frank Booth. MacLachlan had this natural child-like charm about him but I felt as though he always kept a secret because of his shifty eyes and the way he would put himself in dangerous situations for the sake of curiosity. Rossellini was as seductive as she was difficult to read. She reminded me of those femme fatales in noir pictures of the 1940s; I couldn’t take my eyes off her because she exuded an aura of sensuality and danger. As for Hopper, he was the spice of the picture. He was absolutely insane, sadistic, menacing–and I loved him for it. He was so dynamic and just when I thought I knew what he would do next, he managed to surprise. I can understand that “Blue Velvet” may be difficult to swallow because it directly tackled polarizing figures (such as Dern being the girl-next-door and Hopper being the evil figure) without giving the audiences answers that were certain. I always talk about looking for a light at the end of the tunnel for the characters when it comes to movies that are dark and uncompromising. But even the light that I experienced in the end of this picture made me feel very uncomfortable. It was hopeful on the outside but I felt like the joke was on me for wanting to buy it. It was a weird feeling but I thought it was the perfect way to end such an enigmatic experience.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 8 2010

    Isn’t it weird when David Lynch tries to create normal interaction? I knew here it was supposed to be exaggerated, but still…

    Reply
  2. mcarteratthemovies
    Oct 14 2010

    Ever since the opening scene of “Wild at Heart” traumatized me deeply, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch another David Lynch film (except for “The Elephant Man,” which doesn’t count because it’s nothing like the rest of his work). There’s just a coldness about his films that unnerves me. I feel the same way about Stanley Kubrick: the man’s a cinematic genius; he can walk on water, blah blah blah, but his films creep me out.

    Reply
    • Oct 14 2010

      I’m actually thinking of watching more films by David Lynch. I think I’ll start with “Wild at Heart.” I like movies that traumatize people. =P

      Reply

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