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.
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, working in his father’s hardware store in an 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 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.
The Criterion Collection: #977
Academy Award Nomination: Best Director (David Lynch)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Dennis Hopper); Best Screenplay