Throughout this series, I will be taking a look at some movies deemed classic and culturally important and reviewing them in a modern context.
Cinema, and any other art form really, can be classified on a scale. On one end is the documentary, which contains real and live events being documented to the audience. On the other lies the avant-garde, where everything is abstract, experimental, and not only break the rules of cinema and storytelling, but of reality itself. Most average movies lie right in the middle of the scale. However, some movies lie in the middle of average and abstract. This is a niche area, in which“Blue Velvet” (1986) director David Lynch specializes. Any fans of the cult classic T.V. show “Twin Peaks” knows that Lynch is no stranger to pushing boundaries, and “Blue Velvet” still remains one of his most beloved by fans, and for good reason.
“Blue Velvet” follows Jeffery Beaumont, a student returning home from college, as he finds a severed ear in the middle of a field, leading him to investigate an unexpectedly dark, strange, and sprawling mystery. The film feels less like a movie, and more like a dream that slowly evolves into a nightmare. “Blue Velvet” is a truly unique film.
Right off the bat, the performances are amazing. I was immediately transfixed by Dennis Hopper’s insane and vulgar performance as Frank Booth, and Issabella Roosellini’s tragic performance as Dorothy Vallens. The whole cast really does an outstanding job. The film also has quite a magnificent soundtrack, with a mix of an ethereal score by composer Angelo Badalamenti, and classic love songs that are sure to haunt you long after the credits roll. To add, the editing and cinematography both provide an off-putting vibe, which really adds to the tone of the movie. Lynch’s vision of the dreamy, all-american suburb of Lumberton, juxtaposed with the movie where the script, characters, the casting, cinematography, and editing work so well in the director’s favor, that his vision is completely crystal clear.
“Blue Velvet,” much like the song it’s named after, is a transcendent experience. If you have never really heard of David Lynch or any of his work, I would highly recommend you start here. Many consider avant-garde to be too strange, incomprehensible, and pretentious. In fact, I never even considered myself a big fan of abstract and avant-garde art. However, I believe David Lynch offers one of the most undeniably unique approaches to these ideas out of any artist.
His work may not be for everyone, but it still manages to elicit a stronger emotional response than the average movie, whether it be curiosity, sadness, or even horror. His characters and stories have always had a strange and indescribable nature to them, and have always found a way to pique my interest. “Blue Velvet” is no exception. It’s a hunting and surreal film that still manages to stand out amongst the many films that came before, and many more to come.