OUT OF THE BLUESight and Sound, Winter 1986/87
This vision is so extreme that it is often deliberately funny, but it's genuinely, but it's also genuinely horrifying, because Blue Velvet's strange world really feels like home ground-for Jeffrey, for Lynch (who is returning to Eraserhead territory after his unproductive detour into outer space, Dune)and for us. The heightened tawdriness of
Lynch's style, evoking the B-movie and jukebox nightmares that insinuate themselves into
the real, remembered traumas of our lives, is somehow truer to our experience than
anything that has been seen American movies in a long time.
Blue Velvet takes us farther into our collective past than, say, Francis Coppola's new Peggy Sue Got Married, a whimsical time-travel movie that transports Kathleen Turner from her twenty-fifth high school reunion right back into her own adolescence-all, it turns out, in the service of some fuzzy Caprasque homilies about how everything is for the best in this best of all possible neighbourhoods. Peggy Sue doesn't represent anybody's actual experience, least of all Coppola's. He has never before made anything like this glazed commercial entertainment; it's a throwback to the sort of picture that his own movies in the 70s seemed to have given the lie to for good. If we, film-makers and filmgoers, really want to go home again, we would do better to follow Lynch. For Americans at least, the artefacts of junk-culture genres and B pictures are home. No matter how badly we want to get out, the stuff sticks to us, like gunk from some special-effects monster.
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© Mike Hartmann