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BLUE VELVET ($25) is one of the strangest and most disturbing films that I have ever seen. Director David Lynch has imbued this movie with an unsettling yet hypnotic quality that keeps the viewers eyes glued to the screen, even though they know they should turn away. Its almost like driving past the scene of an automobile wreck, you donít want to look, but you end up craning you neck to take in ever last gory detail. With BLUE VELVET, David Lynch shows us the corrupt and perverse world that exists underneath the idealized "white picket fence" dream of small town America.

BLUE VELVET stars Kyle MacLachlan as Jeffrey Beaumont, a young college man who returns to his small town home after his father is taken ill. Cutting across a field after visiting his father in the hospital, Jeffrey discovers a severed human ear in the field. Of course, Jeffrey turns his find over to the police, however he is so intrigued with the mystery that he begins his own investigation, which unfortunately drags him down into a lurid world of depravity and murder. Laura Dern portrays Sandy Williams, the police detectiveís daughter who helps Jeffrey in his personal investigation into the severed ear. BLUE VELVET also stars Isabella Rossellini as Dorothy Vallens; a nightclub singer who is caught up in a bizarre relationship with a sadistic drug addict named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper), who seems to be holding all the cards to the mystery. To describe the film in any further detail would destroy the effectiveness of the film for anyone who has never seen it. Those who are familiar BLUE VELVET know what to expect.

The only thing else I can say is that those who are easily put off by strong adult subject matter probably wontí enjoy this film. Despite the disturbing nature of BLUE VELVET, the film has a number of strong performances that make it worth seeing. Isabella Rossellini gives an incredibly brave performance as Dorothy, a role that I doubt many actresses would have been willing or prepared to play. Additionally, Dennis Hopper is truly unforgettable portraying his completely twisted character Frank. In fact, anytime I see Hopper on the screen in anything else; I canít help but think of BLUE VELVET. The cast of BLUE VELVET also features Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Jack Harvey, Frances Bay, Ken Stovitz, Brad Dourif and Jack Nance.

MGM Home Entertainment has done a really fine job with their DVD edition of BLUE VELVET. Thanks to a new anamorphic enhanced transfer made from virtually pristine film elements, this DVD is the absolute best video incarnation of BLUE VELVET to have ever been released. BLUE VELVET is presented with its full 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio intact, which is why every fan with a wide screen monitor is going to want to own this 16:9 enhanced DVD. The transfer is crisp and very clean looking, with a solid level of detail and little appreciable evidence of film grain. Colors are usually quite strong, providing very good saturation throughout the presentation, without any noticeable chroma noise or smearing. Additionally, flesh tones appear quite natural, that is, for most members of the cast. Blacks are solid and the image delivers a good level of shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts remain in check throughout the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to standard surround and it is definitely one of the better matrixed tracks from the eighties. Everything is well recorded and the sound has a genuine sense of presence. Dialogue is well reproduced, maintaining full intelligibility throughout. Music is full and rich sounding, which is important since songs and Angelo Badalamentiís musical score play a significant part in BLUE VELVET. There are some cleanly defined channel separations in forward soundstage, while the rear channels provide a good deal of ambient sound, atmosphere and musical fill. A French language soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are French and Spanish subtitles. The interactive menus have an interesting design that makes use of animation, full motion video and sound. Through the menus, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer.

BLUE VELVET is a haunting and disturbing film that this reviewer happens to like quite a bit. If you are a fan, you wonít be disappointed by MGM Home Entertainmentís first rate presentation of BLUE VELVET on DVD.


Blue Velvet (1986)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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