Blue Velvet31 Mar 2016
There is nothing easy about Blue Velvet. I had always thought this, and known this, about David Lynch. It took me a while to see this film, for whatever reason. I saw it in a reprint at the Film Forum in NYC recently. Of the Lynch films I’ve seen, this was the most fun to watch, the easiest, the most formal but as any one can guess, that doesn’t mean much for David Lynch.
I’m likely not going to add anything new to the many exegeses of this film that have been written since its release. The most impressive thing about the movie to me, is how complicated it is. It is a noir-film, but complicates noir. It is a film about masculinity, that complicated masculinity. It features some grotesque abuse, that complicates the roles of victim and perpetrator. Nothing in this film is what it seems. But Lynch also isn’t just depicting some sort of hand-wringing “boy, golly, I don’t know” sort of post-modernist false equivalency or relativist thing. He is very clear on what he believes about these things, about masculinity, about sex, power and American self-image. That’s not to say he’s definitive, just that his beliefs are very clearly on display.