David Lynch’s 1986 mystery/thriller, Blue Velvet, really does have everything a David Lynch fan could ever ask for, and more.
An idiosyncratic, picturesque town that is home to a depraved, seedy underworld when night falls? Tick.
A beautiful club singer who happens to be at the very centre of the mystery? Of course.
What about a terrifying and perverse amyl nitrate inhaling villain who likes to be referred to as ‘Daddy’? You bet!
When Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) returns home after his father suffers a stroke, he stumbles upon a severed human ear in a field.
After feeling dissatisfied with the lack of police interest, he enlists the lead detective’s daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), and sets out to solve the mystery for himself. The object of his investigation is a beautiful and mysterious club singer, Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), who seems to be heavily linked to the murderous psychopath Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper). What Jeffrey uncovers is a trail of murder and police corruption, but has he fallen in too deep?
It isn’t hard to believe that Lynch’s masterpiece received critical acclaim upon its release, although some had trouble seeing past its surreal nature and eroticism, it ended up on most critics ‘best of 1986’ lists and was even named ‘the best film of the 80’s’ by Rolling Stone and has become something of an American classic since.
The film marked the entrance of Lynch into the Hollywood mainstream and also a huge return to form for Dennis Hopper, playing one of the most psychotic, repulsive and also disturbingly funny roles in all of cinema.
Kyle MacLachlan is also enigmatic as the perceptive protagonist whose capacity for obsession is unlocked upon finding the ear.
Infectious and mesmerising, Lynch hasn’t come close to anything quite like Blue Velvet since - with the exception of Mulholland Drive in 2001 (which I would also highly recommend if you love this).