I usually feel bizarre for several days after watching a David Lynch movie. I get a kind of weird sense that I'm seeing the world in slow-motion footage -- everything beneath the surface becomes visible, and everything weird is even more pronounced. That Lynch sees the world this way all the time is enough to give me chills down my back. And yet, I'm morbidly grateful that he shares the vision with me.
Blue Velvet wars with Wild at Heart as my favorite Lynch movie, but after watching it again on DVD it may have secured its victory. Kyle MacLachlin plays Jeffrey Beaumont, a good natured, white-bread all-American, small town boy. Jeffrey has returned home to Lumberton from college because his father has suddenly taken ill.
Before he even has a chance to settle into the business of running his dad's hardware store, Jeffrey discovers a severed human ear in a field behind his house. His curiosity overtakes him and rather than leave the police to handle the matter, Jeffrey sets out to unravel the mystery.
He recruits the police detective's daughter and together they begin to piece together an intrigue of terrifying proportions, going on right there in Lumberton. Jeffrey discovers that the uber-sexy Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini, "What are you doing in my apartment Jeffrey Beaumont!") is being blackmailed by the uber-creepy Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, in the most disturbing role he's ever played). And while Jeffrey may be the ultimate vehicle for her salvation, he is far from capable of saving her.
Blue Velvet is just as weird as the eerie small-town mystery of Twin Peaks, with the usual cast of crazy characters. But it is perhaps more accessible to audiences. Blue Velvet has a beginning and an end (at least on the surface). The plot is linear, there is a climax and a denouement, and though there are still questions and mysteries at the movie's end, it feels like an ending.
This disc is a mixed bag. Clearly this letterboxed transfer is the most honest presentation of this movie as it was originally filmed. Lynch loves wide camera angles, bright colors and dark corners. The color is wonderful and the blacks are near perfect. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of fairly unpleasant artifacting present around straight lines, particularly in the stair shots, and overall the image tends to get grainy. The quality of this disc is just not what the medium allows and while Angelo Badalamenti's soundtrack was virtually flawless in the 2.0 Surround, one has to wonder why it wasn 't also re-mastered to Digital 5.1
The Interactive menu was one of the best I've seen and includes 28 Chapter Stops. The disc also contains the original theatrical trailer. I'm going to hope that this DVD is just a teaser for the time being. I'd like to think that Lynch would grace us with a collector's edition someday, complete with deleted footage, or perhaps, do I dare hope, a commentary track.
The price is right, folks, and this is the only way to truly experience this movie again and again. I wish I could rave about the transfer, but between that and the lack of extras, I was pretty disappointed. Nevertheless, I see myself clicking "Buy" on Amazon sometime soon.
Amy Morrison, 12/19/00