Blue Velvet (1986)

blue velvet 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Whose ear is it?

Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) is a young man living in a quiet small town who one day finds a mutilated human ear in an empty field. This gets him involved with a murky kidnapping case involving Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and a strange sinister man by the name of Frank (Dennis Hopper).

The offbeat plot evolves well and remains if nothing else captivating. Hopper makes the most of what was at the time his ‘comeback’ role creating a memorable villain. The casting of Rossellini was an inspired choice as she adds a unique flavor to the proceedings and sings a cool rendition of the title tune. The scene involving Dean Stockwell and his strange clan leaves a memorable impression as well.

Director David Lynch keeps a tight grip on his uniquely odd vision and makes sure that it permeates every sight and sound in the picture. The best part, or at least my favorite, comes at the beginning when the camera zooms into a nicely manicured front lawn until it shows an extreme close-up of all the bugs crawling around underneath it in the dirt.

I first saw this film upon its initial release and was mesmerized by it, but now twenty plus years later it doesn’t seem quite as cutting edge as it once did. There have been so many similarly weird films in the intermittent years that this one becomes lost in the shuffle and even dated.

Several scenes get stretched longer than they should be and the second half becomes draggy. The scene where Jeffrey is chased down by an angry boyfriend of Sandy (Laura Dern) only to have the naked Dorothy jump out of the bushes where the boyfriend then apologizes profusely seems now unintentionally funny. The contrived ending, which features a chirping mechanical robin, looks cheesy and tacky.

Despite the fact that the film has not stood the test of time it still has its moments, but it is no longer as fresh or original and the Hopper character is not as frightening as he once was.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: September 19, 1986

Runtime: 2Hours

Rated R

Director: David Lynch

Studio: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Available: VHS, DVD (Special Edition), Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video

6 responses to “Blue Velvet (1986)

  1. I think you make a strong point: Blue Velvet now looks rather tame compared to the movies that followed it. I wonder if that is part of the problem…I saw those movies before I saw Blue Velvet. My main concern, though, has always been a confusion about the tone. Is Lynch making a melodrama (sort of like a Douglas Sirk movie)? Or is this supposed to be a satire? It’s definitely not “straight” enough to be a drama…so I don’t know.

    Great review! Enjoyed it.

    • You make a good point in regards to the tone, which seems to go all over the place. In my opinion I don’t think Lynch had a solid idea in that area. I think the intention was to encopmass a lot of different things and hope in the end it would all miracolously come together.

      In a lot of way watching this movie is like reading one of those stream of consciousness books. They may have some interesting moments, but as a whole they come off as disjointed and pointless.

  2. I adore Lynch yet have oddly enough not seen this yet.

  3. Joseph Kearny

    Works in bits and pieces and grows tiresome.

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