Blue Velvet (1986)

Lynch’s masterpiece is a surreal experience complete with sensational performances, a disturbing film that portrays the moral rot that comes with the American Dream.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review #218

Dir. David Lynch
1986 | USA | Crime/Mystery/Drama | 120 mins | 2.35:1 | English
M18 (passed clean) for strong violence, language and nudity

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Isabella Rossellini
Plot: The discovery of a severed human ear found in a field leads a young man on an investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of psychopathic criminals who have kidnapped her child.
Awards: Nom. for Best Director (Oscars); Official Selection (Toronto)

Source: MGM

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Slightly Disturbing
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse

Viewed: DVD
First Published: 1 Sep 2007
Spoilers: No


Film auteur David Lynch’s masterpiece Blue Velvet is a wonderful creation. With Blue Velvet, Lynch cemented his status as one of the world’s most unorthodox filmmakers in the 1980s.

His fondness for weirdness and the macabre didn’t go too well with many people. But for students of film, his pictures are a constant source of fascination. The Elephant Man (1980) and Mulholland Dr. (2001) are some of his more popular works, but most are somewhat inaccessible to the general public.

Blue Velvet is the modern American showpiece; a motion picture that seeps deep into one’s mind, a psychological exploration of the human behavior, as well as a social commentary on suburban America.

Lynch dwells in character studies for most of the film, by creating one of the most vilest and revolting figures in film history – the foul-mouthed sexual sadist Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), as well as his polar opposite, Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan).

“I looked for you in my closet tonight.”

In the middle of the mess is Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a nightclub singer whose life and family are ravaged by Booth. Credit to Lynch for coaxing the principle cast to give performances of their lives.

Blue Velvet shows us that anything can be beautiful, but when one digs deeper, the ugly truth will inevitably reveal itself. Which is probably the message Lynch wants to drive in us.

The use of color in the film is intense and deliberate – Lynch paints serene and vivid scenes of a typical pleasant American home town, and masterfully contrasts it with the morbid, hideous underworld that conceals within. 

Blue Velvet is a surreal experience, a disturbing film that portrays the moral rot that comes with the American Dream. More than two decades after its controversial release, it’s still as relevant and unsettling.

Grade: A+


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