If “Blue Velvet” were cut to just its first two minutes, it would still be a masterpiece.
In that opening, director and writer David Lynch lifts the curtain on a demented cast of suburbia. It’s campy and beautiful and unsettling all at once, the colours oversaturated and the scenes unexplained.
You’ve been warned, right from the start, that nothing about this film will be normal.
Still subversive and unparalleled 25 years later, “Blue Velvet” was released on Blu-Ray last week with an hour’s worth of bonus scenes that were cut by Lynch initially. Any excuse to talk about “Blue Velvet” is worth taking.
Few films have ever saddled the American id like “Blue Velvet” did. Lynch pinpoints a weird rage that exists underneath the surface tension, the sexual frustration of the American suburbs, and renders it transparent.
Between Dennis Hopper’s astonishing, gross turn as Frank Booth and Kyle MacLachlan’s compromised American innocence writ large, the movie has no shortage of tremendous acting, as well.
What we’re saying is, if you’ve never seen “Blue Velvet” before, now’s as good a time as ever. The noirish menace of modern films like “Drive,” or even the underworld narratives of “Breaking Bad” and “Weeds,” owe huge debts to Lynch.
Granted, “Blue Velvet” can be a bit tough to stomach for the more temperamental viewer; in which case, check out “Twin Peaks,” which confronts similar themes through the scope of a serialized mystery.
In fact, check out “Twin Peaks” regardless. Hugely inferior shows like “The Killing” have imitated its model, but nothing’s ever really matched the amazing first season. (Watch the first five episodes of the second season, and then you can skip ahead to the last one.)
That’s your homework. Afterward, write Laura Dern and beg her to get Lynch behind the camera once again.
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