Blue Velvet

It must have been about ten years ago that I saw Blue Velvet on video. Since I quite like this film and the work of David Lynch in general, I did not hesitate when I saw that Blue Velvet was on the program in my local cinema last week, in a series of classics. And I must say, on a big screen it was even more powerful and compelling. Quite a dark movie, sometimes literally, and with a lot suspense. But I had forgotten that there was so much absurd humour in it as well, with grotesque characters, reminding of Fellini.

The story is situated in a quiet little town, but Lynch ‘paints’ a bizarre, surrealistic world underneath the superfical impressions of everyday life. Twisted violent and sexual behavior give you the feeling of an old B-movie and a dark insight in the human soul…

The scene that I could remember the best was when the protagonist, the curious student Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan), is spying on nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rosselini). Hidden in a closet in her apartment he is a voyeur, who not only discovers the dark secret about her kidnapped child, but who is also tempted when he watches her undressing… In fact the film is a dark thriller, which starts when Jeffrey finds a human ear during a stroll in the forest. He brings it to the police, but is curious to find out more. With some help of Sandy, the daughter of the police officer, a rather naive blond girl, he learns that the nightclub singer is involved in this matter somehow. When he starts to follow her he gets on the trail of some dangerous but weird criminals, active in the drugs business… Various detective-like developments follow, when Jeffrey tries to solve the bizarre case. In the meantime he is torn between two women: the innocent sweet girl Sandy who is helping him, and the experienced, tempting Dorothy.

A fascinating movie, with a combination of dark humour, absurd images and great tension. As usual with David Lynch, music plays an important role. Not only through the theme score of Angelo Badalamenti (also known for Twin Peaks), the film is also named after the song ‘Blue Velvet’, which the singer always sings at her shows, and which is particularly appreciated by the main criminal. One of the most memorable scenes is when the criminals take X for a ride, wanting to teach him a lesson. But before they beat him up, the chief criminal (‘Frank’, a great role by Dennis Hopper) first plays his favourite tearjerker (Roy Orbison if I’m not mistaken) on the car stereo, which makes one of the odd women in his company dance on the roof of the car?