Review: Blue Velvet

When this movie came out, many critics, most notably Roger Ebert, simply assumed David Lynch was holding up for ridicule the lie of American suburban life and trying to reveal its dark interior to the world. What they didn’t understand is that David Lynch wholeheartedly believes in the wholesome Richard Scarry-esque vision of suburban life that he presents in the beginning of the movie. In fact, he believes in it so strongly that he knows it can even encompass the darkest human impulses. Evil does not invalidate good as we know it, but as Lao-tzu said, it is merely good in its gross unrefined form. Lynch believes that the violent libidinal impulses represented by Frank Booth come from a deep desire to love and be loved. More esoterically, because Lynch is a deeply esoteric director, Frank Booth’s sexual pathology and rage are a result of being separated from his anima, his feminine psyche.

In the beginning of the movie, a hive of beetles are shown nesting within the earth to represent the chthonic energies seething beneath the veneer of small town America, but at the end, we see a robin with a beetle speared on its beak, holding it up for all to see in the light of day. This is a tantric image, representing the oneness of purity and impurity. In more conventional terms, that our mortifications do not put us beyond love.