BLU-RAY REVIEW: Blue Velvet
David Lynch's classic thriller celebrates 25th Anniversary with blu-ray release...
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David Lynch is synonymous with twisted, odd, crazy, and down right disturbing cinema and television. The writer/director/producer responsible for such favorites as Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive began his career almost 4 decades ago. Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his 1986 masterpiece, 20th Century Fox has released Blue Velvet, one of Lynch's best and a film that many might considered one of the most depraved examinations of humanity from the 1980s.
The film follows Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), an everyman of sorts who, in a complete bizarre turn of events, finds a severed human ear and, instead of following the advice of his father's police friend, chooses to begin his own investigation. This of course finds Jeffrey in over his head, spying on Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), a lounge singer whose escapades with drug addict Frank (Dennis Hopper) spell trouble for everyone - and especially Jeffrey. It's these characters, their behaviors, and attitudes which shape the film.
However, the film at times would seem almost too depressing and harsh to be enjoyable; at least, if it weren't for Lynch's unique brand of humor. It's this humor that's a common ingredient throughout the filmmaker's movies and television. As viewers, at times it's difficult to determine the appropriate response to the on-screen antics of the characters and this of course leaves us both engaged and wondering. Should we cringe, cower, baulk at, or laugh at the abuse and depravity we're witnessing? What is Lynch trying to reveal to us? Why am I being shown this madness? These are all questions one must ask when watching a David Lynch film. And though the answers may vary, Lynch's attitude towards capturing the audience's attention doesn't waver a bit.
Blue Velvet in hi-def is gorgeous and features color correcting and a film update by none other than Lynch, ensuring the video transfer is nothing short of superb. The colors are bright, beautiful and bold and textures are visibly sharp. All things considered, the 25 year old film doesn't look it's age, which is a major compliment. Likewise, the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track provides an impressive display of directional use. The dialogue is clear and easy to hear as are the sound effects and ominous score by Angelo Badalamenti, which drives viewer emotion well.
As for special features, the blu-ray disc includes a generous portion which should find Lynch fans impressed. Included on the disc is a 70 minute retrospect entitled "Mysteries of Love," which provides background info on Lynch's film work, interviews with the cast and director, and behind the scenes footage from the film's production. For fans of previously unseen material, welcome to heaven. "Newly Discovered Lost Footage" runs over 50 minutes long and features a variety of scenes and scenarios from the film which never made it onscreen...until now. The disc also includes a few outtakes, the film's theatrical trailer, two TV spots, and "Vignettes," which provides viewers with a number of scenes mixed with cast and director interviews. Lastly, a "Siskel and Ebert 'At the Movies'" provides the two critic's comments on Blue Velvet.
Blue Velvet isn't for everyone; in fact, many might find it repulsive. That said, most of Lynch's work is an acquired taste. And while Blue Velvet may not fit the bill as the ideal movie for your family movie night, it is the type of film that you'll never forget - especially considering, upon further inspection, you are - like Jeffrey - are a character in the film experiencing the twisted debauchery called Blue Velvet. And David Lynch wouldn't have it any other way...
Blue Velvet is available now on blu-ray wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley