Blue Velvet (1986) – 4/5

Demented, nightmarish coming of age story of sorts from David Lynch that definitely plays with formula and familiarity and visuals and all that, but not in as extreme a manner as you’d expect. The film is kind of predictable, sort of, which is very unusual for a Lynch film, and the dialogue is somewhat cheesy and sloppily written at times, though this may have been intentional, I don’t know. The acting is pretty good though, namely from Dennis Hopper who is just completely out of his damn mind throughout. And I couldn’t help but notice all the little ideas here and there that would eventually make their way into “Twin Peaks.” Even the cinematography is vaguely “Twin Peaks”-ish.

It’s a strange movie, no doubt, as most of Lynch’s films are, it’s just not quite as strange as I was expecting. The film is surprisingly straightforward: it has a relatively easy to follow plot, with characters doing stuff and things unfolding logically, and in sequence of all things! I had to keep checking to make sure this was indeed a David Lynch film. And sure, the plot may not make a whole lot of sense at times, but compared to some of his other work, it’s practically formulaic. Very, very odd. But, of course, it wouldn’t be a David Lynch film without some bizarre pseudo-sexual scenes bordering on sadism, and boy does this movie have plenty of those. But they’re very creative visually, and disturbing, and Hopper, god, what a nutjob. I wonder how much of his performance was scripted and how much of it he just improvised.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. It’s not Lynch’s best, nor my favorite of his, and a touch overrated I think, but it certainly has its moments. The scenes of extreme violence in particular, especially the one **SPOILERS** at the end with the two men in the hotel room, one of them with his brains leaking out, dead save a few last firing neurons keeping him swaying and twitching when stimulated, **END SPOILERS** are truly the stuff of nightmares. Yikes. But the story isn’t anything great, the dialogue is kind of goofy, and I don’t know, it just felt very predictable save a few scenes. And what a bizarre cameo from **SPOILERS** Dean Stockwell **END SPOILERS** of all people. What was that all about? Beautifully shot and performed, but what in the hell?

Worth a watch if you’re a fan of Lynch’s, or enjoy scenes of kinky violent sex, or both.

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