Blue Velvet (1986)

Directed by David Lynch

Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern

Today I was reading about a man who designed his coffin to look like a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can, and naturally, I though of Blue Velvet. Widely claimed to be Lynch’s best film, Velvet was also one of his more controversial given his on-screen treatment of Isabella Rossellini and the sadistic nature of Hopper’s character Frank Booth. What came from the film was a genre-bending take on the psychological thriller and one of the most memorable villains to ever utter the words, “Heineken? Fuck that shit!” You know the rest.

The film is largely is based on a song (Bobby Vinton’s Blue Velvet), a feeling (the film’s time period), and an image, namely captured in the film’s opening sequence, when young college student, Jeffrey Beaumont, discovers a severed human ear in a vacant lot. The ear, represents a hole into another world, in this case, the underworld. A world that sucks Beaumont in with its dark temptations of violence and sex.

Befriending the sheriff’s daughter, Beaumont starts to investigate the case, which leads him to the Slow Club, where he encounters lounge singer Dorothy Vallens. Jeffrey finds her apartment, sneaks in while he thinks she’s at the club, only to be caught by her…and fellated at knifepoint! Enter jealous sadomaschist Frank Booth and Jeffrey is shoved into a closet and forced to watch Vallens get violently ravaged. Fascinated, Jeffrey follows Frank and is introduced to a seedy world of drugs and violent crime.

Hopper completely commits himself to his role as Frank and the character shines in horrific splendor because of it. Some of the most insane lines you’ll ever hear a human being utter come out of Frank Booth’s mouth and it’ll leave you wide-eyed and 100% entertained. Arguably his best role.

Scenes to note are the symbolic editing during the rape scene, cutting back and forth from fire and layered alien sound, and Booth’s amyl trip in the car, best depiction of drug-induced psychosis I’ve ever seen. Next to A Straight Story, Dune, or the Elephant Man, this is probably Lynch’s most accessible film for the mainstream audience, but it still has those elements of his personality pervasively through and through that earned him the nickname, “Jimmy Stewart from Mars.”

Other Notable Films by this Director: Eraserhead (1977), Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001)


1 Comment

  1. This is a wacky film although it shines in parts, because it really is something exciting and interesting to watch. Check out my review here:

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