The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon

Beauty is vicious.


When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Title The Neon Demon
Director of Photography Natasha Braier
Runtime 1 h 57 min
Certification R
Release Date 8 June 2016
Tagline Beauty is vicious.
IMDb Id tt1974419

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, I enjoyed his 2011 movie ‘Drive’. Sure some of the slow scenes and long pauses and deep and meaningful looks between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan gave it a hint of pretentiousness at times, but that was easily outweighed by the stylisation, imagery and soundtrack. So Refn must have figured he could take those qualities up a notch or two when he wrote and directed the Neon Demon.

It is an ueber-stylised movie from the get-go, and the long pauses are taken to the next level too. I think the actors were instructed to count to at least 5 before responding to any line of dialogue. Unfortunately long pauses don’t magically make everything deep and meaningful. There are only a handful of characters in this film, yet all of them remain as flat as a pancake. The dialogue itself is clunky to begin with, and the long pauses just make you reflect on it rather than glance over it; and this really is not a movie you should be reflecting on. It is goodlooking but plainly pretentious drivel, and instead of successfully hiding its shallowness under a thick layer of its sexy veneer, it fails miserably as a meaningful critique of the fashion industry and its narcisism.

The plot itself then… well it starts out with some intriguing elements, but before long it gets a bit tedious; then we move on to more and more far fetched ‘developments’, building up to what certainly must be one of the most ludricous finales I have seen in a long time. Not clever, not sexy, not even shocking, just so laughable you just roll your eyes and hope that Refn never writes a screenplay again. Ever.

Best avoided. Two stars for the pretty pictures.


The Neon Demon
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