[caption id="attachment_91172" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="MGM"][/caption]
We miss David Lynch terribly.
Don't panic—the inimitable 65-year-old director of "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man" and Lost Highway" has not died or retired, but he seems to have turned his back on film for the time being. His last movie, 2006's "Inland Empire," was an all-digital production that was obtuse even for Lynch's standards. Instead, Lynch seems more interested in music nowadays—he directed a concert for Duran Duran that streamed live from Los Angeles and he just put out a new album today titled "Crazy Clown Time."
The release of "Crazy Clown Time" coincides with the Blu-ray debut of "Blue Velvet," his gorgeously filmed 1986 masterpiece starring Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Dennis Hopper and Isabella Rossellini for which Lynch was nominated for a Best Director Oscar. The story is about clean-cut Jeffrey Beaumont (MacLachlan), a college student who returns home to the small town of Lumberton to assist with the family business after his father's illness only to find a severed human ear in a field. Jeffrey brings the ear to the police chief and sets out to do some amateur investigating with the help of the chief's daughter, Sandy (Dern).
Jeffrey's sleepy world is turned upside down after he sneaks into the apartment of lounge singer Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini) on a tip from Sandy only to be busted and interrogated by the masochist chanteuse. It seems that Jeffrey has found the ear of Dorothy's husband and that it was cut off by Frank Booth (Hopper), a psychotic ("I'll f**k anything that moves!") drug-addicted sadist who sexually abuses Dorothy regularly…and really hates Heineken beer. Dorothy, who is too scared to go to the police because of what Frank might do to her husband and young boy, has become a disturbed basket case of a woman who seduces Jeffrey after he breaks into her apartment only to beg him to hit her. Jeffrey is led deeper into Frank's twisted criminal world until he makes a final stand to free Dorothy from her tormenter forever.
Also Check Out: Lynch Sings the Blues on 'Crazy Clown Time'
One of the reasons "Blue Velvet" is so timeless is that it doesn't appear to be set during any specific era. There are telltale signs of the '80s, when the film was shot, but the cars, clothes, furniture, local diner and music are from all different time periods and give the film a dreamlike quality. The seeds of "Twin Peaks" germinated here, as evidenced by the similar small lumber town seemingly set in the Pacific Northwest and a populace of oddball characters all threatened by one malevolent presence.
This 25th anniversary edition on Blu-ray is a reminder of how beautiful our strange world can be when seen through Lynch's lens. "Blue Velvet" remains an exhilarating experience—a battle between purity and depravity in small-town America that alternates between shockingly violent imagery and quaintness. It is arguably Lynch's finest work and, after seeing it in high definition for the first time, hopefully a call to arms for the gifted auteur to get back behind the camera again soon.
Extras!: The "Mysteries of Love" documentary, original Siskel and Ebert review, vignettes and a few outtakes have mostly been available on previous DVD versions, but the uncovered treasure here is over 50 minutes of newly discovered lost footage presented in high definition and surround sound.
Although it's apparent why these scenes weren't reintegrated into the movie—most are superfluous or involve subplots that were abandoned—they add a new layer to the "Blue Velvet" world as we get to see Jeffrey at college with his girlfriend, Sandy with her boyfriend at home and more footage from the Deep River apartments as well as another lounge act at the Slow Club, where Dorothy sings.