Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) is home from college and finds a severed human ear near his parent’s home. After handing it over to the police department he becomes far more intrigued and curious about this mystery. With the help of the officer’s daughter he discovers a woman who might be linked to the crime. After sneaking into her home, Jeffrey must hide in her closet and is introduce into a strange and dangerous world.
Speaking and reacting in odd ways that seem unnatural, the characters are almost living in a dream. For instance when Jeffrey tells the officer he has an ear inside a bag. The officer casually looks inside as if it is not an unusual occurrence in the slightest for this suburban neighborhood. He almost seems cheery. Each character introduced is more strange and perverse than the next. Jeffrey is brave in his curiosity but is arguably driven by voyeurism more than wanting to do the right thing. The woman Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) he becomes obsessed with is a victim full of sexuality, fear, confusion and chaos. The final character of Frank Booth (played memorably with massive energy by Dennis Hopper) is a scary insane killer and criminal boss who is rageful with submissively strange and creepy fetishes.
David Lynch (MULHOLLAND DR., THE ELEPHANT MAN) has a reputation of creating odd films that don’t always make a whole lot of sense. The people that do like his films, love his films. I cannot say I am in that category. However, I also would not go so far as to say I don’t like his films, In fact, I always feel a little torn, liking some aspects but also viewing some parts as weird for the sake of being weird. And that is exactly the case with BLUE VELVET. For the record, my favorite film is the lighter more positive, THE STRAIGHT STORY, which coincidentally is the only film with a “straight story” narrative. But Lynch clearly enjoys the surreal and strange moments in life and he definitely captures that well in BLUE VELVET.
The Academy seems to never be sure what to think of Lynch’s work either, giving Lynch a directing nomination for the 1986 film, but zero in all other categories. It’s as if they are saying we don’t know what we think of this, so he must have done a good job. I can’t think of another film in history that received directing as its only nomination other than another Lynch film, 2001’s MULHOLLAND DR.
On the first viewing, the film plays like a mystery that turns more into a wild ride never knowing what we are going to see next. However, this second viewing for me lost all that unknown excitement and exposes a far more crude and meaningless shock value that doesn’t quite resonate as we go deeper into this seedy underbelly of a world. I appreciate some aspects and feel as though I should like it more. The fact is, I don’t. I think the question that Sandy (Laura Dern) asks Jeffrey can aptly be directed toward BLUE VELVET as a film, “I don’t know if you’re a detective or a pervert.”
Video: (Widescreen 2.35:1) Not the best transfer but the light and dark use of shadows are conveyed well.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) A decent audio track using some odd sounds and music to back the film.
Documentary: Mysteries of Love (1:10:45): This takes past interviews from Lynch and everyone else that was in the cast and crew about the making of the film. This is incredibly insightful and is a must for fans of the film or those who are interested in filmmaking.
Newly Discovered Lost Footage (51:42): This is a lot of extra footage, most of it pretty strange and lot more unnecessary backstory on Jeffery. I feel like seeing some of these scenes kind of prove the film did not have a clear vision to start with.
Outtakes (1:33): A couple of goofs not worth having on the Blu-ray.
Siskel & Ebert “At The Movies” (1986) (1:30): I wish all older films would add the review of these two famous critics. FYI – they don’t agree on this one.
Vignettes (3:35): Four separate very short extra bits of information about the film. These actually cover some of the questions I had so it’s kind of interesting.