Blue Velvet (1986) / Mystery-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for strong aberrant sexuality including a rape, graphic nudity, language, and some violent content.
Running Time: 120 min.
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange
Director: David Lynch
Screenplay: David Lynch
Review published January 25, 1999
Here's one of these polarizing movies you either love or hate. I guess I fit into the former category, though I must admit writer-director Lynch (Mulholland Drive, The Elephant Man) has never impressed me in the slightest in any other outing. This is one of those rare exceptions where almost everything seemed to fit into place without going too far overboard into the surreal.
The story revolves around a young man (MacLachlan, The Hidden) who finds a severed ear in a field. He takes it to the police but his own thirst for knowledge and mystery leads him to take matters into his own hands. He decides to investigate and it leads him into the apartment of a depraved woman (Rossellini, Big Night) whose need to be loved and debased at the same time causes conflicts within him. He wants to help her escape her captor, who has kidnapped her husband and son, but she won't allow him to try. Soon he gets too involved, not only with her, but with his investigation and soon finds himself having to try to save himself.
With a Hitchcockian theme and Lynch's unabashed mastery of the weird and perverse, this is a wholly unique and quite entertaining flick from the bizarro world. Definitely not for all tastes, but for those who don't mind their tales thoroughly twisted, it's about as fun a journey as you could hope for. Dennis Hopper (Cool Hand Luke) is phenomenal as is Rossellini, giving their all in probably the best roles of their careers.
Lynch's direction meshes with his surprisingly adept screenplay with perfection, and some genuinely funny and genuinely disturbing moments fill the screen, and often at the same time. Bold, audacious, and beguiling. It's too bad Lynch spent most of the next few years trying to out-weird himself. Great entertainment (for some).
©1999 Vince Leo