‘It’s a strange world, isn’t it?’
Phantom Cinema is a monthly cinematic treat that takes place at Doncaster Brewery. This is my second visit to Phantom Cinema after taking in Jan Svankmajer’s demented take on Alice in Wonderland and once again the hosts were enthusiastic and informative with both a short film and a brief introduction to Blue Velvet. The fact that Phantom Cinema chose to show Blue Velvet as part of the BFI’s love season goes some way to showing the kind of film you can expect going in!
Blue Velvet starts as a fairly typical, if a little off key, crime mystery. This being David Lynch it starts to get weird pretty quickly and then David Hopper shows up and everything goes fucking mental.
The middle section of the movie is a full blow Lynchian garish nightmare. People who labour under the misconception that the art school pretensions of Tim Burton are in any way ‘dark’ should watch Blue Velvet to see how tame Burton’s work is in comparison. Hopper’s wild eyed, terrifying performance as Frank left my mouth agape in shock and while nausea and panic are not emotions I would usually associate with an enjoyable viewing experience nobody can argue that Blue Velvet isn’t powerful.
As with Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet explores the sleazy underbelly of suburban life with shocking results and while Blue Velvet is ‘out there’ Lynch shows the kind of restraint he exhibited with classic Mulholland Drive rather than the self indulgence displayed on Lost Highway or Eraserhead.
Kyle ‘Agent Cooper’ MacLachlan shows again that he fits perfectly into Lynch’s world with a damn fine performance and a haunting turn from Isabella Rossellini is the perfect foil for Hopper’s deranged genius. Hopper himself commented ‘I’ve got to play Frank. Because I am Frank!’. Very worrying…