Blue Velvet (1986) Review – A dream, I wanted to wake up from

Cover photo

Year: 1986

GenreDrama, Mystery, Thriller

Length2h

Premise: After a young man discovers a severed human ear on a field, he starts an investigation related to a mysterious nightclub singer and a group of dangerous, psychopathic criminals.


Review

It is always scary to review movies made by directors, who by the years have gathered enormous cults following them. One of these pioneers is David Lynch, the great master of abstract, alternative, even experimental movies. Well, considering his filmmaking style, I can think of only two kinds of people. Those who think they understand his works, and those who really, really can’t stand them. I’m afraid I’m one of the latter group. Especially after watching Blue Velvet.

Blue Velvet hospital scene

The “cringe” effect

When I first watched the film, I really wanted to like it. I could see that it is beautifully shot, and is filled with a unique, charming atmosphere. I loved the music, the sounds, and editing. But the acting… That is something I couldn’t foresee. The acting, that the psychopathic Frank (Dennis Hopper) carries out for us is nothing but painfully embarrassing and ridiculous. Not dramatic. Not one bit. But it could be better if at least we would understand his true drives, but the motivation of the characters is mostly a mystery, doing illogical things in illogical situations. The dialogues feel like they are copied right from a soap opera. I really hate to use this word, but the best adjective for some happenings in this film is “cringey”.

Blue Velvet singing scene

Story or Symbolism?

Blue Velvet is one of those movies where the symbolism is not a tool for the story, but the other way around. It only has a plot, because it makes it easier to force it down the throats of the viewers. It is based on random chunks of emotions and not on linearity. If someone says that it is experimental, I say that it is a failed experiment then. Because it surely failed to be entertaining. And at the end of the day, a movie should be that. And if it isn’t entertaining is it at least intelligent? For me, no. More like pretentious, for wanting to be much more than it is.

Blue Velvet diner scene

Psychology through dreams?

Believe me, I understand. I understand that Lynch’s movies are like dreams and they mostly are based on deep psychological concepts. This is all nice and neat, but I think people who consider it a masterpiece miss one important thing. Isn’t layering one of the biggest wonders in movies? Watching an interesting story with good acting, knowing that this is only the exterior? Knowing that this perfectly logical chain of happenings may secretly hide something underneath? Something that may teach us about psychology or religion or the nature of humans? Where is this wonder if we can perfectly see that we are watching forced symbolism on the screen?

Blue Velvet bar scene

Conclusion

The thing that actually brakes my heart is that it really has some nice things in it. I cannot question even for a minute if it was made by creative professionals who are great in their jobs. But then again, what is the point if it’s just a dream right? And not even a dream to be honest. Blue Velvet is too fake for a real-life story and too real for a dreamlike one. So if it is a dream, that dream is one that is worth waking up from…

Similar Movies: Mulholland Drive (2001)

Blue Velvet (1986)

6.2

Story

3.0/10

Music

8.0/10

Cinematography

8.0/10

Acting

4.0/10

Editing

8.0/10

Pros

  • Great visuals
  • The music is perfect for the atmosphere
  • Creative editing

Cons

  • Cringey acting
  • Weak, cliché story
  • Forced, pretentious symbolism

Archie

"You're television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *