In 1986, David Lynch brought us a sinister, psychological, disturbing, yet inviting masterpiece, Blue Velvet. The trademarks of filmmaking that Lynch is known for in his films include slow-motion with scenes of violence and strobe lights to heavy surrealism. Those trademarks are all used in Blue Velvet and they set the tone for the dark setting that his audience is about to experience. In the introduction, the background colors are faded, the music is unpleasant, and the film begins with a depressing scenario before the horror conflict is revealed. Lynch uses small clues in the beginning that lead us to what is about to be a nightmare that is hard to forget.
Blue Velvet takes place in a quiet town in Lumberton, North Carolina. Our main character (also the protagonist) is Jeffrey Beaumont (played by Kyle MacLachlan). Jeffrey is back from college due to his father having health issues and being hospitalized. Since his father is in this position, he needs to manage his father’s hardware store. It is not long before Jeffrey comes across a severed ear on the lawn of his family home. When he makes this discovery, he delivers the evidence to Detective Williams (played by George Dickerson). Jeffrey becomes friends with the Detective’s daughter Sandy (played by Laura Dern). They become very close as friends and are fascinated by what may have resulted in the severed ear. They believe it has to do with someone named Dorothy Vallens (played by Isabella Rossellini) who is linked to previous weird activity and some criminal behaviors in the area. This tempts Jeffrey to spy on Dorothy, but when he does, she catches Jeffrey which involves him in a dangerous situation with Dorothy. In fact, Dorothy is a slave to Frank Booth (played by Dennis Hopper), a cruel, negative man who abuses his power to get whatever he desires out of Dorothy. With Jeffrey now in the middle of the situation, he feels he cannot leave this horrid scene, until it comes to an end.
Frank is just insane when he realizes that Jeffrey and Dorothy are friends. He gets more abusive, forces Jeffrey into situations he does not want to be part of, and worst of all, is even more crazy towards Dorothy. The sad part is Dorothy is stuck because Frank has connections to the police, so if she tries to get help, Frank can find out and get even more violent. Due to Jeffrey’s involvement, the good people in his life, including Sandy, her father and Dorothy’s family (that Frank has locked up somewhere) may fall-down with him. Blue Velvet becomes a rollercoaster ride of evil, little to no time to get to safety, and more realizations that turn out to be scary and disastrous for Jeffrey. Once Frank knows Jeffrey is in the loop, he only makes matters worse.
Blue Velvet is still a sensation thirty years later, because of its audacious style of cinematography mixed with sinisterism. The more the evil power grows with Frank, the cinematography becomes darker. The mind of David Lynch still speaks to people with Blue Velvet and that is because the film haunted many fans with its setup, its conflict, and the twisted ideas that Lynch possessed which resulted in the making of Blue Velvet. I found the film hard to watch again, because I viewed it on the big screen late at night. Given the film has many violent nighttime scenes, leaving the cinema felt kind of strange, yet I was still blown away by the dark experience. Lynch is an idol of mine when it comes to giving his films deep meaning with his strange technological effects. Four stars for Blue Velvet (even after thirty years).