Blue Velvet

Dir. David Lynch. 1986, 120 mins. 35mm. With Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell. This nightmarish vision of the suburban underbelly forever marked Lynch as America’s premiere poet of the peverse. MacLachlan’s straight-arrow kid finds himself drawn ever deeper into a mystery involving a severed human ear, a melancholy lounge singer (Rossellini), and a violent, gas-huffing maniac (Hopper, in a career-defining performance). The effect of this beautifully designed wide-screen work of American gothic on the last two decades of moviemaking is incalculable.

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