Plot: What’s it about?
When Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) returns to his small hometown after his father has a sudden stroke, he finds that his former place of residence is not as simple and innocent as he had once thought. Lumberton may seem like any other small town in the country, but it holds some dark secrets beneath its picturesque appearance. Almost as soon as he arrives, Jeffrey discovers a severed human ear, which of course, makes him wonder what is going on. Instead of taking the ear to the local police department, he takes it to a detective he knows there, who informs Jeffrey to keep mum about his find, as it could be part of a drawn out investigation. But that’s about all the information he is given, so he is left with more questions than when he arrived. Some of those questions are answered by the detective’s daughter (Laura Dern), who knows certain facts, since she overheard some of her father’s conversations. He learns of a woman named Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) , and decides to hide in her home to spy on her and gather what information he can. This is just the start of a series of unusual, baffling, graphic, and disturbing events Jeffrey will encounter, and things only become more cloudy around every turn.
I’ll say right up front that I like this movie a lot, due in part to my inclinations toward unusual cinema, no doubt. As with any movie that tests the limits of film, this film will not appeal to everyone out there, so if you have to see movies where everything is spelled out for you, rent The Sixth Sense again. Those of you who can handle some fresh techniques in movies, this is one film you will not want to miss. The concept is not a new one, with a small town that seems nice and perfect harboring evil and darkness. But it’s not that simple, and the writing makes sure the film stays on a fresh path at all times, which keeps things interesting and sometimes unnerving even. This is a deep and complex film, one that you can watch over and over, yet find something new each time, and I think that’s a rare quality in modern films. As I mentioned above, this is an unusual and sometimes disturbing film, so make sure you rent it for the first time, or keep away if you’re scared of innovative films. I recommend the movie to all fans of offbeat cinema and the like, and though the disc is lacking in extras, it would still warrant a purchase or at least rental.
This film was written and directed by David Lynch, who has a gift for unusual cinema as well as a very loyal following of fans for those movies. Keeping in line with most of Lynch’s other films, Blue Velvet has some strange sequences within it, but everything seems to make sense by the end credits. Lynch uses some subtle touches in this film, such as the small details that focus on the innocence of the small town, and then seems to conk you on the head with much more obvious stuff, which keeps you off balance, a desired outcome I’m sure. Lynch’s work is for everyone, but if you like this movie, make sure also watch Eraserhead, Wild At Heart, and The Elephant Man. The cast for this movie is centered on a few major characters and one central character, so there’s plenty of people to keep your eyes on here. The central role is played by Kyle MacLachlan (Showgirls, The Flintstones), who is good in his part, although he sometimes stumbles and gets drowned out by his costars. The other major roles are played by Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider, Waterworld), Isabella Rossellini (Fearless, Immortal Beloved), and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, October Sky). The supporting cast includes Dean Stockwell (Mr. Wrong, Air Force One), George Dickerson (Jinxed!, Space Raiders), and Hope Lange (Death Wish, I Am The Cheese).
Video: How does it look?
Blue Velvet is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This has to be the finest looking release for this movie, even the print is in tip top shape with few flecks or dirt marks, very impressive. The colors drench the screen, but not to an erring degree, they just shine with brightness and richness. The flesh tones seem natural as well, with no visible signs of distortion to be found. This film can get pretty dark, but the contrast keeps everything in order, with well defined shadows and very high visible detail level at all times. I noticed some very small compression errors, and overall this is a fantastic transfer. Let’s hope MGM starts giving all their titles this type of treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is not an audio driven movie in the normal sense of the concept, but that’s not to say this track doesn’t offer an excellent experience. The surrounds are used in a subtle, quiet manner to create an eerie atmosphere for the film, one which suits the tone of the movie to perfection. The rest of the audio is used for dialogue purposes, and the vocals come across well, with no volume or separation issues present at all. This is a wonderful track that relies on subtlety for its power, and it works.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes the original theatrical trailer and a booklet with some liner notes.