The Neon Demon (2016) | Film review

The Neon Demon is a psychological horror film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Elle Fanning. I haven’t seen many of Winding Refn’s films, but they are on my list ( Drive and Only God Forgives), my one hope is that they are quite different to this one. It is not that the film was bad, or too complicated to understand, it is simply that it showed a harsh reality of the modelling industry, and it mixed it with cannibalism and rape, it pushed certain buttons it did not need, and it seemed too much in the end. A valid point for dislike? Nope, which is why everyone should see it and make up their own mind. 

Here we follow an aspiring model (Fanning), who arrives in Los Angeles displaying natural beauty and youth. Soon she is thrown into a world of competition and physical perfection, where jealousy is the rule. The constant praise she receives gets her quite a big ego and a growing narcissism. This, quite obviously, will not end well for her, just in a different way that we are used to see, or Zoolander. 

The acting was quite good, Fanning did a great job as such a devilish-innocent girl, but Jena Malone stole the show for me. Her character depiction of such a nice lady who turns out to be so “demonic” gave me chills. Keanu Reeves was here too, he did a pretty good job. Everyone else was just okay. Their characters weren’t interesting, I did not even remember their names throughout the entire film. 

The main reason I enjoyed what I saw came down to the cinematography, by Natasha Braier. I’ve never seen her work before, but will be looking forwards to seeing what else she does on the big screen. Her use of colour was simply astounding, it matched perfectly with the lights and shadows. However, no amount of beauty could truly hide how simplistic the characters are, and how thinly woven the plot is. The music didn’t help much either, it was okay. Many people praised the mix of 70s and 80s music to match all the crazy colours and the city it took place in, to me it was hit or miss. Some I liked, and some I didn’t. They were not ground-breaking in any way.  

I recommend you watch it if movies with no well written plot, but visually stunning graphics are your thing. Or if you’re a fan of the actors here. Or simply if you want to be confused by the ending. 

Beauty Isn’t Everything, It’s the Only Thing.”

★★½

 

 

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