The next big title up for viewing in DK Canada’s highly enjoyable, The Movie Book is the David Lynch classic, Blue Velvet. It features a lot of familiar faces to Lynch fans, and in fact served as the launching point of inspiration for Twin Peaks.
The Norman Rockwell facade of small town America (the town of Lumberton, North Carolina) is pulled back to expose a dark underside as young Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) discovers a severed ear that leads him to a beautiful night club singer, Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini), and a gang of criminals, led by the psychopathic Frank (Dennis Hopper), who have kidnapped her child.
Rounding out the cast includes Dean Stockwell, Laura Dern, Brad Douriff, and Jack Nance.
Dern plays Sandy Williams the daughter of one of the police officers who behind working on the case that Jeffrey brings to them, and she represents an innocent image, one that is reflected darkly by Dorothy, and Jeffrey is drawn between them as things descend into Lynchian madness.
Hopper owns the film as Frank, and verges on the terrifying with his performance, while MacLachlan’s turn as a young college student caught up in something he doesn’t understand is on point, and engaging.
The film is spooky, unnerving, and one of Lynch’s best, and you can see how it could serve as a launching point for Twin Peaks; the idea of the small town with a dark underbelly that seems to exist only in darkness.
Jeffrey is drawn deeper into this darkness against his will, and it marks him, it sees him, it knows him, but with the help of Sandy’s father, he may be able to come out the other side of it, but he will always carry that darkness with him.
This is one of my favorite Lynch films, and it definitely is more linear than a lot of his films tend to be. Yes, the characters are bizarre, and some of them are truly frightening, but in the end, they can be almost understood, and the plot can be followed.
It’s a brutal, often shocking film that is able to walk a fine line between the light and the dark, thanks in large part to MacLachlan’s performance, you can see that Jeffrey truly wants to do good, and do right by Dorothy, as well as Sandy and his humanity comes out through his actions, and his regrets.
Lynch isn’t for everyone, and I can see how a number of people would have a hard time with this film, the underbelly of darkness is not an easy thing to look at, and this film does so unflinchingly, showing that film doesn’t always have to be escapist entertainment, it can be a mirror darkly.
I can’t wait to see what else DK Books’ The Movie Book has in store for me. And you can pick one up today and find a new classic for yourself!