Saturday, 3 June 2017

Blue Velvet (1986)

"Why are there people like Frank?"

It really is about time I got round to blogging a David Lynch film, frankly. It's inevitable when you review a large number of films (Blue Velvet is my 377th, quite shockingly) that certain omissions get more and more embarrassing, and David Lynch was at the top of that list.

Blue Velvet is, of course, at once very, very good and very, very weird. It may not break the fourth wall or break its linear narrative beyond a few minor flashbacks, and it may make narrative sense, but that uncomfortable sex scene with Dorothy and Frank goes beyond just weird and deeply uncomfortable into just plain weird, and just as weird are the whole scene at Ben's and, well, the entire characters of Dorothy and Frank. Into this very odd world come the picket fences and more or less wholesome characters of Sandy and Jeffrey.

But Jeffrey is no innocent, literally driven by morbid curiosity and having an affair with Dorothy at the same time as he tries to woo the very innocent and very vulnerable Sandy. It's tempting to see this as a film about the male gaze, centred on Jeffrey's spying voyeuristically from Dorothy's closet but essentially driven throughout by Jeffrey asserting his male gaze on the female sexuality and female life that surrounds him.

There's a lot more going on here than I've spotted, of course, not least the significance of the music, but there's no doubting that this is a splendidly shot, deeply multilayered and utterly superb cinematic classic. With some very '80s decor.

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