Blue Velvet (1986)

So, I had to see some more David Lynch because we’ve been watching Twin Peaks.

I’m not quite sure what the point of Blue Velvet was, other than to show some secrets of small-town living, but I think Lynch must just like showing aberrant behavior on film.

What do I want to say about this film? It was interesting.  It was violent. It was kooky.  It was bizarre. 

Ultimately, it was “okay.”  I think film viewers and connoisseurs enjoy kooky.

One thing the viewer can see more readily by watching this film is Lynch’s style. It’s hard to be certain within a TV series like Twin Peaks, but there are certain elements in both texts that give the viewer a better glimpse at his style.

For instance, the night club/bar and strange singers, the color red (or blue), the innocence vs. experience trope, the mystery to be solved (ironically by Kyle MacLachlan), drug use, and the aberrant sexual behavior trope.

I’m still laughing about Dennis Hopper’s character, Frank Booth, and his bizarre, Freudian sexual fantasy.  …what on earth?!

2 thoughts on “Blue Velvet (1986)

  1. Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. The film is about keeping secrets, about the veneer of Americana, about how noting is ever really what it seems, about the corruption at the root of the human soul, and about how horrifying a place the suburbs truly are. It’s about the sublimation of desire, our fear of our own sexuality and the power our sexuality holds over us. It’s about lies and denial and the extreme desire to conform to societal norms–and to never let anyone else suspect that while they lie back and think of England, your orgasm is more intense if someone punches you in the face. It is a retelling of Hamlet.

    Whenever I am in the suburbs, I still flash back to the opening scene of the film, where the camera pans over all those perfectly manicured lawns and identically middle class homes, finally zooming in on a severed human ear hidden in someone’s lawn.

    The entire film can be encapsulated by a single bloody human ear in an otherwise perfectly maintained lawn.

  2. Ellen’s bang-on in her response, but she also (inadvertently) points to what limits the film: its stunning naivete in positing that the suburbs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Quel horreur! It’s a trite little “examination” of what lies beneath those manicured lawns ED cites, but all its balls are wrapped up in style, not substance. (And, by the by, wasn’t that old hat by 1986, post, I dunno, the Sixties counterculture, the Beats, Updike et al., the Kinsey report, etc. etc.?)

    Ellen, you’re right: the film “can be encapsulated by a single bloody human ear in an otherwise perfectly maintained lawn,” but that happens in the first ten minutes or so of the film. Everything after is a waste.

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