Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet (1986) 

Dir. David Lynch


The ear in David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” has always been something of note. A severed ear in a field of grass is no normal image, it represents the ugliness that is being brought into Jeffery Beaumont’s (Kyle MacLachlan) life. It’s not long after that he eventually comes upon a mysterious nightclub singer who is connected to just more than a severed ear. “Blue Velvet” is akin to an onion, always revealing but never telegraphing. Meeting Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini)  feels like a moment that will eventually destroy Jeffery. He’s a college kid who has a budding relationship with Sandy Williams (Laura Dern), who just came home to take care of his ailing father, and instead is now pulled into the underworld against his wishes. Lynch’s exploration of gangsters is of course in his usual eccentric taste, instead of a usual crime boss he created Frank Booth, a man who moves like a force of nature despite his small stature. Someone who is holding on by a thread, and Lynch shows this throw a physical one, his tank of narcotic gas. 

This rabbit hole of smut and villainy is one that Lynch is infatuated it, soaking it in neon blue and red lights in the club, making it all look candy-coated and fun. However the reality is much darker, cinematographer Frederick Elmes shoots night in an extreme manner, with characters often emerging from the darkness that envelops them. Whereas the home that Dorothy lives in is plagued with shadows lurking in every corner, showing the fear she constantly lives in. Lynch’s opus is a maddening one to sit through and by the end think “Yeah, that makes sense!” It’s a sentiment that is rarely mentioned in conversation with the film, interpretation is key with all of Lynch’s works and allows for his films to mean dozens of things all at once, while still maintaining some truth for those who do not wish to dive deeper.