Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1986. De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. Screenplay by David Lynch. Cinematography by Frederick Elmes. Produced by Fred C. Caruso. Music by Angelo Badalamenti. Production Design by Patricia Norris. Costume Design by Gloria Glynn. Film Editing by Duwayne Dunham. Academy Awards 1986. Golden Globe Awards 1986. Independent Spirit Awards 1986.
Despite already being an Academy Award nominee (for The Elephant Man) and popular among the art-house crowd (for Eraserhead), David Lynch’s career as master of the attractively strange began with this fantastic, modern punk-ish film noir. Kyle MacLachlan is the picture of youthful American perfection as a young man who works his father’s hardware store in his idyllic suburban small town. One day while walking through a field, he finds a piece of a human ear and investigates its origin. His voyage into the mystery gets him and his bewildered girlfriend (Laura Dern) mixed up with some of the creepiest underworld characters you’ve ever seen in your life. Dennis Hopper is exceptional as a truly unforgettable villain, and Isabella Rossellini magnificent as the heart of the film’s tragedy. The image of her standing over a naked MacLachlan while brandishing a gleaming knife has entered pop culture iconography and will remain there forever.