Movie Review - Blue Velvet

Movie Review - Blue Velvet

"It's a strange world Sandy," says college student Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) to Laura Dern's blonde haired innocence.

Jeffrey is right. This blue orb is rich with the increasingly unusual. Baywatch was supposedly the most watched show. Steven Seagal and Demi Moore were / are paid handsomely to "entertain". The afternoon soap, Passions. But I digress.

Jeffrey is right. Our world is strange, but the world within Blue Velvet is possibly stranger. This David Lynch creation was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 1986. It's not hard to see why. Wonderfully weird and refreshingly original, Blue Velvet takes the viewer beyond the idyllic superficial and thrusts them headfirst into the dark and bent corners of a postcard-perfect American town.

The opening sequence coloured with flourishing flowerbeds and white picket fences establishes surface tranquillity. A pensioner watering his immaculate garden furthers the image of goodness and cleanliness. Everything appears nice. The niceness, like the sprays of water leaving the hose, soon evaporates. The pensioner collapses and the camera moves in for a closer look. Directly underneath the unconscious man is a well-kept lawn and bedded within the blades of grass is a miniature and ruthless world of insect life and death. The metaphoric message is simple. Hidden beneath the bright sunshine and garden colour are happenings not obvious and striking, but they are happenings. And they are real. And they are disturbing.

Jeffrey returns to his home town to visit his sick father - the collapsed gardener - in hospital and whilst re-acquainting himself to the surrounds of his recent past, he re-establishes a romance with Sandy; the daughter of a local police detective.

Alone with his thoughts and walking through a field, Jeffrey makes a gruesome discovery. Human ears are not an everyday find. The clean-cut college student puts to work his overactive mind. His curiousity sees him abandon the succulent but boring bosom of pleasantville for a sordid womb of secrecy and desires and danger; a dark and sexual retreat of misfits, drug dealers, kidnappers and a sadomasochistic night club singer called Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) awaits.

Ruling the shadows is Frank (Dennis Hopper). He's one nasty son of a bitch. Hopper has never been finer. Anthony Hopkins's Hannibal Lecter may have enthralled us with his deliciously well-spoken malevolence and Robert De Niro's Max Cady, all tattooed and self-educated and brash, fed us one-liners and aphorisms and episodic violence but the foul-mouthed Frank, a drug dependant psychopath caught in his private hell, is as evil as evil gets.

In stark contrast to Frank's instability and pulsating temper is a cameo from the impossibly suave and softly spoken Ben (Dean Stockwell). In a scene that gives new meaning to strange, Frank and his cohorts forcibly escort Jeffrey and Dorothy - to ensure the safety of her kidnapped son and husband she submits fully to Frank's orders and sexual wants - to a bar called This Is It. Seemingly an associate to Frank's drug dealing endeavours, Ben delivers a tight-lipped rendition of Roy Orbison's In Dreams.

Moving from Ben and his memorable performance, Frank cranks up the hate and turns up the anger volume. Referring to himself as Daddy, he wants to do things to Dorothy. He wants to give Jeffrey a love letter straight from hell. He wants…

This ain't a pretty movie. Frank and Dorothy and Jeffrey and Ben and the rest will not appeal to those who like their hills to come alive with the sound of saccharine music.

Blue Velvet is too strange for some. Not me. If you want pleasant and cheerful don't ride this beast of troubled souls. But if you want strange and perverse, take a ride into the blue. Take a ride with Frank.

Rating: Five outta five
David Lynch at his bizarre best!