Saturday, 14 January 2012

Film Review: Blue Velvet (1986)

David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) is a film filled with dark concepts that fill the audience with unease. According to reviewer Blake French, "(Blue Velvet is)an abrasive, original look at violent and perverted behavior" French,Blake. (2001). Blue Velvet.
The storyline starts off with the character Jeffrey, who stumbles upon a severed human ear. Upon taking the ear to a detective, Jeffrey meets the detective's daughter Sandy who informs him about the involvement of a woman named Dorothy in the murder.
Curious about the situation, Jeffrey goes in to investigate. He follows her home from the bar where she works. He breaks into the apartment of Dorothy and hides inside her closet.
Upon her arrival, Dorothy quickly discovers Jeffrey and forces him to engage in sexual activity with her.
Fig 1: Blue Velvet Poster
 This film contains strong Freudian concepts of masochism and sadism.
Dorothy is married to a man who is kidnapped by a man named Frank. Frank in turn blackmails Dorothy into performing sexual favours for him.
This film focuses on the familiar concept of sex which is meant to be an act of pure love and taints it with the acts of violence.
 As Jeffrey tries to help Dorothy, he gets deeply caught in the downward spiral that is her life.
As a side story, Jeffrey also begins to get attracted to Sandy, who is the only source of light in his darkening life.
While on a date one night, Jeffrey and Sandy come home to a distraught Dorothy who seeks the help of Jeffrey regarding Frank. In the process, she whispers the words "My Lover" to him.
This hurts Sandy and causes turbulence in their relationship.
Finally, Jeffrey informs Sandy's father of his independent investigation and has a team of policemen surround Dorothy's apartment. He finds Dorothy's husband dead in the apartment and with a gaping hole where his left ear should have been.

Fig 2: Frank and Dorothy

He cleverly corners Frank and he is arrested.
The film concludes with a rather false and cheerful family portrait of Sandy and her parents and Jeffrey in their kitchen, observing a blatantly fake, robotic bird. Dorothy's son is returned to her and they are envisioned as living happily ever after. This is rather difficult to grasp as Dorothy is portrayed as a very damaged woman. The very fact that she can be a mother who is to raise a stable minded child, is a rather idealistic concept.
Fig 3: Sandy and Jeffrey
The picture of the American Suburbia is multi-layered. One is, at first, given the impression that everything in this neighborhood is filled with joy and that life is perfect. However, underneath all that positive and 'too-good-to-be-true' image, there is horror and reality. According to reviewer Jamie Russell, "Lynch's modern masterpiece is obsessed with the strangeness that hides in the nooks and crannies of suburban America." Russell,Jamie. (2001). BBC Film Review. Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet is an engaging film that horrifies the viewer and deeply unsettles its audience.
As reviewer Rob Fraser states, "In Blue Velvet - sexual obsession, ideas of identity, electrifying musical numbers - these would all resurface to more satisfying effect in his masterpiece" Fraser,Rob.(2007). Empire Online Film Review. Blue Velvet.


Fraser,Rob.(2007). Empire Online Film Review. Blue Velvet. Available online at: Accessed 14th January 2012

French,Blake. (2001). Blue Velvet. Available online at Accessed 14th January 2012

Russell,Jamie. (2001). BBC Film Review. Blue Velvet (1986) Available online at: Accessed 14th January 2012

Illustration List

Figure 1: Lynch,David. (1986). Blue Velvet Accessed 14th January 2012

Figure 2:Lynch,David. (1986). Blue Velvet Accessed 14th January 2012

Figure 3:Lynch,David. (1986). Blue Velvet Accessed 14th January 2012

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