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Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet
(1986, David Lynch)

My second viewing of a David Lynch film following the extremely impressive Mulholland Drive, if there is one word I would choose to describe the two films I would simply choose ‘weird’. That is not meant as an insult though and although both films are strange and unusual; they are entirely different in style and unique in their own ways. Mulholland Drive was weird in a fascinating, mysterious and intriguing way that made us question the dreamlike world we were watching and attempt to get to the bottom of it. Whilst Blue Velvet is also a mysterious film where the characters dig deeper in to a world filled with a dark sinister side where everything is not what is seems, I would use the word ‘weird’ best to describe the bizarre characters that inhabit the world and fill it with their violent and sick actions.

This film is a crime film like no other, with the sinister underworld discovered leaving a lasting impact on the viewer due to its disturbing and psychopathic violence. It is impossible to talk about the film’s darkness without specifically talking about the film’s main villain, Frank, a man in charge of a criminal organisation that share their violent fantasies with each other. Dennis Hopper’s character is one of the scariest and most disturbing characters that I can remember, constantly inhaling drugs from a canister attached to a face mask that only further enhances his appearance as a character who we truly despise. The first scene that we see him in is particularly disturbing but brilliant as we see the young and innocent character Jeffrey Beaumont face the harsh realisation that the town in which he lives in is not as pleasant as it seems.

The opening scenes themselves are brilliant as we see a lovely little garden with a nice picket fence and red roses, the ‘Blue Velvet’ song that is heard throughout itself is soft and calming and when we see Dorothy Vallens (Frank’s victim) sing it we see her through the eyes of young Jeffrey who becomes sexually involved with the woman who he sees as a beautiful and unfortunate victim that he wants to protect.

Kyle MacLachlan is very good in his role as Jeffrey; he is young and naïve and genuinely looks lost and innocent. He finds himself sickened that such people as Frank exist in the world and wants to become the hero for an older woman who he shares a secret relationship with after initially only going to her apartment to further his investigation in to a cut off ear he comes across at the start of the film.

The film is often labelled as ‘noir’ due to its dark themes and visual style. The use of little light in scenes adds to the mystery and suspense and in other scenes we see tints of more vibrant colours such as blue to give a great contrasting edge to the look of the film. The use of music as mentioned before is brilliant; we know we are viewing a dark world so the soft and calming sound of songs such as ‘Blue Velvet’ seem even more disturbing and eerie. Stanley Kubrick famously used songs to give an ironic touch to dark scenes in films such as Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange and I was reminded of his work when Frank is sent into a psychopathic rage, kisses and beats up Jeffrey to the tune of ‘In Dreams’ as a woman dances to the tune in the background of the violent attack.

After watching both Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet I can definitely say that the two films have been two of the strangest yet greatest viewing experiences I can recall in recent times, both will certainly not be easily forgotten and I would definitely label them must watch films as I would now label David Lynch a must watch director, a man whose films that I have never seen anything like before.