Blue Velvet (1986)
Critics Consensus: If audiences walk away from this subversive, surreal shocker not fully understanding the story, they might also walk away with a deeper perception of the potential of film storytelling.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoDirector David Lynch crafted this hallucinogenic mystery-thriller that probes beneath the cheerful surface of suburban America to discover sadomasochistic violence, corruption, drug abuse, crime and perversion. Kyle Maclachlan stars as Jeffrey Beaumont, a square-jawed young man who returns to his picture-perfect small town when his father suffers a stroke. Walking through a field near his home, Jeff discovers a severed human ear, which he immediately brings to the police. Their disinterest sparks Jeff's curiosity, and he is soon drawn into a dangerous drama that's being played out by a lounge singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) and the ether-addicted Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). The sociopathic Booth has kidnapped Dorothy's young son and is using the child as a bargaining chip to repeatedly beat, humiliate and rape Dorothy. Though he's drawn to the virginal, wholesome Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), Jeff is also aroused by Dorothy and in trying to aid her, he discovers his dark side. As the film nears its conclusion, our hero learns that many more indivduals are tacitly involved with Frank, including a suave, lip-synching singer, Ben (Dean Stockwell), who is minding the kidnapped boy. Director Lynch explored many similar themes of the "disease" lying just under the surface of the small town, all-American faade in his later television series Twin Peaks (1990-91). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Blue Velvet
It made me feel pity for the actors who worked in it and anger at the director for taking liberties with them.
Not quite like any other thriller or erotic mystery you've ever seen.
The movie doesn't progress or deepen, it just gets weirder, and to no good end.
To watch [Lynch's] 1986 neo-noir masterpiece Blue Velvet is to be plunged headfirst into the mind of an extraordinary filmmaker ... who made one of the finest dissections of the American mythos yet seen.
A perfect marriage of classically composed storytelling and disturbing surrealism. But perhaps more importantly, its influence in storytelling still resonates to this day.
One which David Lynch fans will want to watch over and over in HD, and which non-fans ought to see at least once.
Works brilliantly as an allegory of American repression and willful illusion of order, Lumberton's forced-smile '50s sensibility unable to keep down the anarchic, raging id that is humanity's primal drive. [Blu-ray]
For as diverse as Lynch's filmography is, Blue Velvet is quite possibly his masterwork. There's a strange mix of comfort and beauty with terror and awfulness.
shocking, perverse, funny, unsettling, scathing, biting, and twisted, but undeniably original
One of the most subversive films of the 1980s, delving into the corrupt underside of the then-idealized faux innocence of the 1950s with an almost alarming ferocity.
In 1986 David Lynch broke the language of cinema wide open in the same way that Jackson Pollock did with the art world in the early '40s.
In this impressive work, released after the flop of Dune, David Lynch addresses issues of order and disorder, normal and abnormal sexuality, good and evil, while telling a classic American coming-of-age story.
It's Dennis Hopper sucking on an oxygen mask like Darth Vader in Snoop Dogg's green room - In other words, it's classic Hopper!
Lynch's fourth feature film still stands as a bona fide masterpiece, one of the few such films that actually was appreciated in its time and has perfectly weathered the 17 years since.
Weird for weird's sake isn't enough; there has to be something more.
It feels as "out there" as ever, and there hasn't been any movie since quite comparing to it, besides David Lynch' further adventures into mind-f**king.
A fascinating and perplexing exploration of everything that lies just under the surface of all of us.
...evil lurks in the most seemingly harmless places.
Even some fifteen years after the release of Blue Velvet its vision remains wildly adamant relative to the stride of other works of contemporary noir. There have been many films about suburban crime, but none as dangerously imposing as this.
Audience Reviews for Blue Velvet
A young man from the small town of Lumberton stumbles upon a severed human ear and his curiosity leads him down the rabbit hole of violence and depravity surrounding a mysterious criminal known as Frank. Blue Velvet is David Lynch skilfully subverting the stereotypes of middle America in this reinterpretation of Film Noir transposed to its unseen, dark underbelly. The superficial gloss of the white picket fences and bonhomie of American suburban life disguises a nightmarish underworld of brutal crime and corruption which is discovered by fresh-faced Kyle MacLachlan and all-American high school girl Laura Dern and Lynch delights in peeling back the layers of respectability to expose the horrors the human animal is capable of. Dark, brooding and strange, it's not as oddball as some of his more obtuse work but this is classic Lynch that has obviously had an influence on the work of the Coen brothers. A bit of a cult classic and must see for fans of off beat thrillers in general and David Lynch in particular.More
Lynchian thrill at its best, this is just one of director David Lynch's heralded magnum opuses. The film has the same overall tone of creepiness, insidious intent, and villainy, on an under your skin level, as many of his other films. Described as a film about the deep recesses of sadomasochism and crime that crawls beneath sugar sweet suburbia, I find it to be much more than that. That description makes it seem that suburbia is placed in the forefront, and all the intermingling characters are outsiders in the world that villain Frank builds around victim Dorothy, when in reality no one in this film is anywhere near normal. College student Jeffery (McLachlan) is based in prep but veers more toward strange voyeur throughout most of the film. He is the main representation of normal in the film, and yet he time and again does strange, daringly stupid things in his quest to help Dorothy. Dorothy is played by Isabella Rossellini in yet another turn as an obsessed, anachronistic character. She plays the victimized mother so well and especially comes off as vulnerable and wronged against Dennis Hopper's Frank. Hopper has always been able to play the misinformed, violent, beyond cruel character so well, and here he is at his peak. Not only does he affront motherhood, family, and the supposedly suburban way of life, but he is also unaffected by death and sexual coercion. I have never seen a grosser, more ambivalent villain in film history, and there is no one else to play this character than the incomparable Hopper. The tension that is built up through this thrilling neo-noir is palpable, only broken when Jeffery goes back into the normalcy that he thought always preceded him, but now is tainted by his knowledge of Frank and the town's seedy underbelly. Besides being bizarre plot wise, and through these dense characters, Lynch also lets the town hang overhead as its own sick and dispassionate witness to everything that happens, not stressing how false its ideals are, but constructs it to mirror two different worlds balanced by naiveté. These kinds of films, strange and non-inclusive, usually generate a lot of negativity, but when you watch it, it is gothic and has a feeling of otherness that cannot be replicated. Lynch's vibe in these films make him the great director that he is, and there is no better example as violence as a mechanism for creepy than this peerless film.More
David Lynch's first fully realized masterpiece starts off seemingly straight forward and innocent but don't let the introduction fool you. You soon plunge into a strange world of sex, drugs and violence. Featuring a horrific and amazing performance from Dennis Hopper as well as stellar performances from the rest of the cast. This is a must see.More
Summed up perfectly by the late Gene Siskel, this film plays you like a piano. Lynch's arousing yet unsettling portrait of the underbelly of the American dream is something you won't soon forget. He successfully immerses you into a pleasantville-esque world replete with the musical stylings of Bobby Vinton. From there, through the eyes of the fatally curious Kyle McLachlan, Lynch launches us into a hallucinogenic detective story that becomes more intriguing even as Lynch drags us further into the bowels of this perverse fairy tale.
I must admit that this film did not thrill me upon first viewing. In fact, it was as pleasant as being hit in the head with a shovel. However, upon a second viewing I found out oddly enough that Lynch made me like and even admire the shovel that seemed hellbent on doing me harm. And for me that is quite an impressive feat, and one I soon won't forget.
Blue Velvet Quotes
- Alright Frank, let's drink to your fuck.
- Sandy Williams:
- It's a strange world, isn't it?
- Jeffrey Beaumont:
- [as Frank fondles Dorothy in front of him] Leave her alone!
- Frank Booth:
- Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!
- Frank Booth:
- No I want you to fuck it.
- Frank Booth:
- Shut Up! It's Daddy, S***head.
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