I knew there was a reason I liked A.O. Scott.
In the Times‘ “Critics’ Picks” series, Scott lavishes praise on two of my own favorite films: Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995) and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986). One is prophetic, mysterious; the other, dangerously sobering and full of threat.
Dead Man is Jim Jarmusch’s best film (among many) because of its singular vision. Neil Young provides the glorious, atmospheric soundtrack (a forerunner to the eerie soundscapes created by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood for There Will Be Blood). For the story, Jarmusch channels the voice of William Blake and grounds him in his own surreal version of the Wild West.
In Blue Velvet, David Lynch skirted niceties and held a knife’s blade to the viewer’s throat. Kyle McLachlan is full of longing despite his naivete; Isabella Rosellini does not flinch from vulnerability as a woman abused by a maniacal Dennis Hopper. It’s disturbing, to say the least. Something that will haunt you and never let you forget its imagery. Everything cinema is supposed to do.
Cheers to A.O. Scott for reviving these modern classics.