Review - Blue Velvet, by Dane Crandon
a strange world Sandy," says college student
Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) to Laura Dern's blonde haired
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Five outta five
David Lynch at his bizarre best!
Ó Dane Crandon