'Blue Velvet' [Blu-ray]
(Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, et al / Blu ray / R / (1968) 2011 / MGM)
Overview: David Lynch peeks behind the picket fences of small-town America to reveal a corrupt shadow world of malevolence, sadism, and madness. From the opening shots Lynch turns the Technicolor picture postcard images of middle class homes and tree-lined lanes into a dreamy vision on the edge of nightmare.
Blu ray Verdict: The brutally honest performances, articulate and beautiful style, and the movie's sexual and violent shock value save the storyline flowing through 'Blue Velevt' from becoming too stale or uninspiring.
Indeed, and all these years later, it still seems completely original, invigorating and unsurpassed. It wouldn't matter if every film after 'Blue Velvet' in David Lynch's career sucked, because Blue Velvet will always be his masterpiece. The things, along with Twin Peaks, will remember him for.
Everyone assumes that 'Blue Velvet' opens with the infamous ear-in-the-grass scene, but the film's opening is even more disturbing than that. A suburban fantasia of white picket fences, blood-red roses, waving fireman, happy children and a man watering his lawn gives way to the disturbing moment when the watering man collapses and the camera pans down to dirt level where a number of horrific insects are scrabbling in the dirt at the base of the lawn.
The soundtrack changes from Leave It to Beaver-style music to the loud, gnawing, electric saw-like noises emitted by the creatures. Only subsequent to this scene does Jeffrey Beaumont (a wide-eyed, snoopy Kyle MacLachlan) find the ear in a field of overgrown weeds.
The ear leads Jeffrey through a sordid underworld involving kidnapping, masochism, drug-dealing, and murder. But while there's a whole lot of plot in Blue Velvet, Lynch's more elemental concern is with unearthing the truth behind the fašade (i.e. showing what lurks under the lawn). Even the blue velvet dress that chanteuse Dorothy Valens (Isabella Rossellini) wears hides a secret - namely, the bruises on her body which are delivered by the vile Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, in the role that brought him back to the limelight).
When Jeffrey asks the niave Sandy (Laura Dern), the prim girl on whom he has a crush, why there is so much trouble in the world, the answer is clear -- without it, our lives would be far duller. Jeffrey himself admits that he loves a mystery and the curiosity that his desire entails is the same one that fuels Lynch's own vision.
When Frank says to Jeffrey, "You're like me," it could be Lynch speaking to the audience. We want to know more, even if what we find out hurts or is ugly. Like the scene of an accident, we cannot look away. Fueled by a vibrant and always-surprising surrealism, Blue Velvet reminds us that the dreams and fantasies of our subconscious are dangerous and thrilling; it's surface reality that is mundane.
This is definitely a film worth watching multiple times - and even more so now due to its Blu ray remaster release! Crystal clear, it is a joy to behold on Blu ray. Indeed, the film gets better and better on every viewing, but after a Blu ray remaster, well, (for now) it doesn't get any better, my friend. 'Blue Velvet,' simply put, is timeless and quite unmissable. [KP] This is a Full Screen Presentation (2:35.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Newly Discovered Lost Footage
Mysteries of Love Documentary
Original Siskel & Ebert Review
Trailer & TV spots
A Few Outtakes