I finally got around to seeing this, probably his most critically-acclaimed flick. With so much I heard about it over the years, I thought I pretty much had it pegged, and I somewhat did.
The criticism of suburban America and the two sides of society came as no surprise, as they shouldn't to anyone who has read the most simplistic of plot summaries. Dennis Hopper was just as insane as I would have expected. Given this script, any filmmaker could have said, more or less, the same thing. Where it excels and what I give Lynch mad props for as a director is bringing the material to life in such a bizarre and strange way that the material takes on a strange power or potency that my previous complacency didn't anticipate. But I'm not talking about the showstoppers, the famous close ups of bugs or the ear or even the infamous scene between Isabella Rossellini and Hopper. What got me about the flick is the indeterminate universe in which it takes place. For all its golden oldie pop tunes and skinny ties, the movie might as well be a 1950's period piece.
Except it isn't. I have an unworked (and probably incorrect) theory that the 4 decades from 50 to 80 are bookended in decades based on materialism, traditional values, and economic hegemony. But what Lynch does is to take the American iconography of pop music, brand names, firetrucks, etc. and put it through a filter of pure 1970's nihilism. A character like Hopper's Frank Booth comes directly out of that tradition of filmmaking, and I think I find that conflict and dynamic between periods allows me to ignore the more typical and boring aspects of the film (i.e. the rather straight-forward narrative only punctuated by Lynch's odd sensibility and several standout scenes).
**** out of **** In the fictional logging town of Lumberton, writer-director David Lynch has created an urban landscape pretty enough for a postcard. In a creepy opening, we see men on trucks waving from the streets, dads watering the grass, and flowers growing in front of a white picket fence. The town is a portrait of what an idealistic 1950's society must have been like; content, peaceful, sociable. Or at least this is how we felt it ought to be. Water from a hose meets … more
Blue Velvet was David Lynch's return to what he does best. Surrealistic dramas. After the box office failure of his big budgeted sci-fi/ fantasy epic that was based upon the novel DUNE, Lynch was looking for a much smaller project. A returning into the mainstream Dennis Hopper makes a career renewing performance as the psychotic Frank Booth. This film was a much needed shot-in-the-arm for both men. They would both be immortalized in 80's Americana thanks to Blue Velvet. The … more