“The Neon Demon” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

11 July, 2016

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Screenwriters: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Polly Stenham
Director of Photography: Natasha Braier
Cast: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

Synopsis: An ambitious young girl relocates to Los Angeles in an attempt to break into the modelling industry. Seemingly parentless and cursed by her own naivety, she is soon snatched up by a number of big names in the business but it’s in the enrapturing world of unattainable beauty that she discovers the fakery and malice at the heart of high fashion.

Neon Demon Review:

An instant classic that struts its way into the spotlight in a truly bold fashion, “The Neon Demon” is another unique work from Nicolas Winding Refn who proves once again that he’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to cinematic self-indulgence. Refn constructs a film is so decadent that it gets away with having an attention-seeking attitude as the knockout soundtrack envelopes even the most bizarre moments in breathtaking beauty.

Although Refn’s films always verge on being style over substance, the themes are strong in “The Neon Demon”, so strong in fact that it’s like being whacked over the head with a stack of Vogue magazines. The film’s message about the horrors behind the chiselled beauty that we see on every catwalk and billboard is by no means discreet and the effect is often so visceral that every bone broken or piece of flesh lacerated on screen feels uncomfortably real even though it exists so far from the boundaries of reality that it’s almost impossible to relate to.

This is a movie that cuts into your body with tenterhooks and it has no qualms about slapping you across the face if you dare to call it superficial. While a surface can only reflect back what it sees, “The Neon Demon” is pretty good at unearthing the ugliness and lack of humanity that exists within the soul of those blinded by vanity. It’s a painstaking process that has the potential to consume the only character of genuine virtue but one that easily lures you in as an accomplice to the horrors.

During its most intense and striking moments, the film feels like Murphy’s Law on acid as the fears of its protagonist invoke threats that run parallel with her rise to stardom. Rather than wondering whether the danger is a genuine or not, the film implores you to simply consider who will be the one to cut the cord lifting a young model to success. Who will drag her into the darkness and tear her limb from limb? Who will asphyxiate her until she suffocates? It takes an inordinate number of lipstick applications to find out.


Review Date
The Neon Demon