Monday, February 16, 2009

Blue Velvet?

The only definitive statement I can make about the film Blue Velvet is that I enjoyed watching it. I’m at a loss for words when trying to describe the movie, because other than obvious observations, I’m not sure if what I’m inferring is right, or at least what the director was trying to convey. I have many more questions about Blue Velvet than I do any solid answers.

The underlying message the movie leaves the viewer with is that so many of us are completely oblivious to so much that’s going on right under our noses. Until Jeffrey stumbles upon the severed ear and begins to look into the case, he would have never been aware of the atrocities happening in his picture-perfect town. Jeffrey’s flawless world is turned upside down after finding the human ear and meeting Dorothy. For the majority of the movie, Jeffrey’s idealistic life and his new, dangerous life seem fairly separate, implying that there is evil, but it is possible to disconnect one’s self from it. Then near the end of the movie when the Yellow Man walks into Detective William’s house, it seems like the entire town, even the supposedly genuine law enforcement, is corrupt. This furthers the idea that there is no way to escape the constant impurities of life.

The number one thing that confused me in the movie is the use of blue velvet. Over and over again blue velvet is used and I don’t know why blue velvet, as opposed to any other fabric, is so important. Dorothy sings the song Blue Velvet and says that she likes singing the song. Frank is obsessed with blue velvet. Blue velvet is used for the background of the opening and closing credits. The movie is named Blue Velvet. Other than the link between Frank’s bizarre obsession with blue velvet and him forcing his new slave, Dorothy, to wear the blue velvet robe and her singing that song, I do not understand what the deeper meaning is. I don’t see the significance of blue velvet and I would love if someone could explain its importance.

The rampant use of blue velvet in the film is not the only aspect I am puzzled about. There is a frequent use of the color red, such as with the red tulips in the beginning of the movie and the flowing red curtains in Dorothy’s apartment. Is this just a sign that is used in important or critical scenes? Also, the blind employee who works with Jeffrey, Double Ed, seems like he should contribute some sort of insight to the film. With most books at least, I feel like a blind character, no matter how minor, demonstrates some sort of blindness towards the matter at hand. Does Double Ed’s blindness symbolize our society’s blindness towards what’s happening all around us?

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