The absentees missed a cracker. David Lynch's 1986 "love story" Blue Velvet. I didn't really know what to expect from this one, apart from a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks I knew very little about Lynch's work. (Although on later examination of Halliwell's guide I found I'd seen more than I thought).
It's a disturbing, semi-surreal story of sexual violence, gangsterism and young adventure. An edgy screenplay (by Lynch) moves into electric high drama when the great Dennis Hopper appears in the role of the deeply disturbed psychotic Frank Booth.
The cinematography is highly stylised and some set pieces are theatrical rather than cinematic. This very effectively adds to the tension and drama unfolding on screen. This is not a film for the faint hearted, although the level of violence is well below that of Tarantino for example, it's more the psychological nature of the violence that is disturbing.
A fine cast led by Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Hopper and Isabella Rossellini play the weirdness that is endemic throughout the film with a high level of aplomb, kept on Lynch's tight directorial leash. There are moments of great bravery on the part of the actors where realism is allowed to enter the screenplay and Lynch leaves no room for any lack of self confidence in his cast.