Monday, March 9, 2009

Blue Velvet (1986)

Director: David Lynch

Starring: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Dean Stockwell

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: It's a strange world.

Plot: Jeffrey (MacLachlan) returns to his home town after being away and discovers a severed human ear in a field. Not satisfied with the police's pace, he and the police detective's daughter (Dern) carry out their own investigation. The object of his investigation turns out to be a beautiful and mysterious woman (Rossallini) involved with a violent and perversely evil man (Hopper).

My Rating: 7.5/10

Would I watch it again? Yeah, in another ten years or so

It's been 15-20 years since the last time I saw this. Now, the first time I watched it I was blown away. The second time was just about the same. With so much distance and so many crazy movies watched in the interim, I still find it a very good movie if only a little less effective than 20 years ago but back then it was mind-blowing.

With the exception of THE STRAIGHT STORY (1999), BLUE VELVET is his most accessible film since 1986. If you've never seen a Lynch film, this is the one to start with. It's crime thriller of sorts that plays out linearly. You don't get the plethora of "WTF is going on" moments you'll find in his later work. leaving you scratching your head for months. It's got a couple of high tension scenes and more than a handful of memorable situations, characters and dialogue.

THE standout performance goes to Hopper as the sadistic nutjob, Frank Booth. He's off the charts. If you want to see a different kind of Hopper psycho role then look no further. He's vicious and has no problem with sudden bursts of violence directed at women or otherwise. He's scary as hell and he's got some funny-ass lines.


Frank: What kind of beer do you like to drink, neighbor?
Jeffrey: Heineken.
Frank: Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

Rossellini does her own singing in the nightclub scenes and I wish she hadn't. I've heard worse, sure, but her voice just lies there on the floor, floundering like a dying fish. Woof. I'd like to think that she's better than that and was directed to make it sound not so good. Either way, it's painful. I guess you could say she makes up for it by her multitude of nude scenes. But what doesn't hurt is Angelo Badalamenti's really neat and fun score. Lots of brass and it often doesn't feel contemporary. Very unique.

I've never really cared an awful lot for Laura Dern's acting. She's good but I've never seen "great". I suppose I don't have to as she's very easy on the eyes. Hubba, hubba!

Dean Stockwell is hilarious as a pimp (I think) named Ben. He's got what looks like a brothel of large ladies that look more at home in a John Waters movie..

It's right at two hours long but it never really feels like it. The pacing, story and great imagery (I love the retro-50s/early 60s look while grounded in present day) keep you glued to the screen all the way through. And if you don't like it? Then I wouldn't go any farther with his catalog except for THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980). It's got a beautiful score by John Morris and excellent performances by Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt.

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