Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet ★★★★½

"Baby wants to fuck! Baby wants to fuck Blue Velvet!"
- Frank Booth

A sick and twisted journey into the underbelly of peaceful suburban life, David Lynch’s fourth feature Blue Velvet is an extraordinarily suspenseful, frightening, often uncomfortably hilarious, yet always engaging and fascinating film that is boosted to its gained reputation by an almost incomparable and unstoppable Dennis Hopper, who singlehandedly makes Blue Velvet a mesmerizing and frightening odyssey.

After discovering a severed ear in a field, young Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan) decides to investigate the case, ultimately leading him into a world that he never knew existed.

The lead performances of Blue Velvet, Dennis Hopper aside, are all fine. Kyle MacLachlan as the lead is mostly impressive, and his eccentric features as an actor neatly fit the type of film he is cast into. Isabella Rossellini, in one of her earliest major roles, does an impressive job capturing the inner torment of Dorothy Vallens and a then young Laura Dern equips herself nicely into the role of Sandy Williams. None of the performances are remarkable by any stretch of the imagination, but each of the actors nicely fit their roles and capture some of the more substantial emotional elements of their characters.

Enter Dennis Hopper. His performance as Frank Booth deserves to go down in cinema history as one of the craziest, most uncontrollable, joyous, frightening yet simultaneously hilarious pieces of acting ever put to film. From the moment Booth enters screen, around the half hour mark, it becomes impossible to look away from the screen during the remainder of the runtime, even when moments of sheer discomfort are taking place. Dennis Hopper’s level of energy is on another plane with Blue Velvet, and this translates so well onto screen, making Blue Velvet a hypnotically beautiful and frightening work of art by David Lynch.

In perhaps one of the most pulsating, unsettling and downright frightening scenes these eyes have ever seen, Frank Booth begins to sexually pleasure himself against Dorothy. The dramatic tension that unfolds from within the room, and from within the closet (where MacLachlan’s Jeffrey is locked up) is tangible and the entire sequence works so well in the sense that is an unrestrained example of the devilish underbelly of the world, as well as an almost unpreventable case of voyeurism. The closet essentially becomes a character in itself in this scene, and what unfolds from here on in is utterly captivating.

The opening hour of Blue Velvet is relentless and riveting; a majestic showcase of how to create a truly absorbing crime mystery. The entire story begins with a severed ear that Jeffrey discovers in a field on his way home, and the journey that takes place from that point on is horror in its most lethal form. Scene after scene builds suspense and maintains a haunting atmosphere, helped by great cinematography, editing and score which provide Blue Velvet with the feel of a neo-noir. The performance of Dennis Hopper, the insanity and terror of his character, Frank Booth, and the exploration of a sinister world deep below the apparent peace and prosperity of suburban life makes for an always compelling movie, even if Blue Velvet cannot quite recapture the glory of its first half.

Now I'm excited for Twin Peaks!!

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