Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mystery #8 - Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet is David Lynch movie mostly about the dark, violent underbelly of idyllic small-town America, and frustratingly, is still not a traditional mystery. I'm not even sure what the mystery might be in this movie, although admittedly that might be because I was cross stitching for big chunks of it. There's really not much for the audience to figure out, and there aren't any answers, anyway. This isn't really a major failing for the film or anything, but I was kind of hoping for it. Ah well.

Blue Velvet is about a small town youth named Jeffery Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan, by the way), which unfortunately only reminds me of the town in Footloose, who gets mixed up in amateur detective work when he finds an ear in a field and is plunged into the violent and sexual world of the criminal underworld. Isabella Rossellini is also in it. Blue Velvet reminds me a lot of A Clockwork Orange. Both of the movies are extremely violent and sexual, and both of them use music that doesn't match the actions of the movie - A Clockwork Orange uses classical, and Blue Velvet uses 50's, crooner-style music. The similarities really end there, I guess, but they're still pretty strong to me. Blue Velvet seems a lot more polished and cleaner than A Clockwork Orange does, but the sex and violence in A Clockwork Orange seems less, I don't know, gratuitous. A Clockwork Orange seems to be actually trying to say something about sex and violence, while Blue Velvet just seems to be violent. And sex-filled. It's not that I have any inherent problem with these elements being in fiction, but I feel like there should be some sort of use for them. When I compare the two movies, Blue Velvet just comes up short. It doesn't raise any moral questions, it doesn't make you think, it's not depressing in an artsy way. A Clockwork Orange does all of these things, and I think that makes it a better movie.

I guess the point is that I didn't really like Blue Velvet. It was alright - I didn't really dislike it, either - but when I think of the other two movies that I've watched in this genre, I can come with specific reasons I liked them. The ending of The Usual Suspects was so well-presented that it filled my heart with joy and triumph all the way through the credits, and everything in Dial M For Murder was so cleverly presented beforehand that the movie didn't have to explain itself. I really can't think of anything in Blue Velvet that I specifically thought was good, though. I can't think of a reason for it to be a good movie. So, if I were the American Film Institute, and of course I'm not, so that makes a difference, but if I were, I would have put Blue Velvet below both The Usual Suspects and Dial M For Murder.

I have high hopes for the next movie though - Chances are very high that it will be an actual mystery.

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