• James Rutherford

'Blue Velvet': David Lynch’s Seminal Neo-Noir Mystery Thriller


Movie poster for the film Blue Velvet starring Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rossellini

Written and directed by David Lynch (Twin Peaks”, “Mulholland Drive”), “Blue Velvet” is an unconventional mystery-thriller about a small town youth named Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) who one day discovers a human ear in an open field, without any clue as to its origin.


Taking the mysterious appendage to the police, Jeffrey is soon reacquainted with the lead detective's daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), who clues him in to a possible connection between his gruesome discovery and a local singer named Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini). His curiosity piqued, Jeffrey is soon infiltrating Vallens’ home in search of clues to whatever crime may have occurred, and is ultimately drawn into association with a vicious psychopath named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) and his gang of criminal accomplices—all the while falling into a passionate affair with the increasingly distressed Vallens.


This early entry into Lynch’s remarkable oeuvre balances accessibility with dark, twisted undertones and characterizations, and plays out as a fever dream of mystique and insidious machinations. Ahead of its time for 1986, "Blue Velvet" is now roundly considered an American masterpiece and one of Lynch's finest (and most influential) accomplishments. Absolutely not to be missed.

 

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