Neon Demon (2016)

25 Jan

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As a writer, it’s never a good thing when there is very little to say about any work of art; to say this film left me speechless would be as understated as Elle Fanning’s performance therein.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn hasn’t created a bad film, per se, Neon Demons is just as thin and over polished as the models it follows. Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an aspiring model in LA who, by all accounts, has that elusive je ne sais quoi. In such a cut throat environment it comes as no surprise that the ingénue draws jealousy and spite from her contemporaries like a magnet. Add to the mix a heady dose of lust, necrophelia, and cannibalism, and you have the entire plot of the film. That’s it. Refn does try to make some statements about society’s obsession with youth and beauty; but without any subtantial critical dissection is there really any reason to make the point?

In all, Neon Demons is a stylish film that is exceptionally poorly fleshed out, ironic given its obsession with the corporeal. Refn has said the project began as a result of his wife putting her foot down and saying she’d only go out on location to LA as she was sick of Asia, and the film was written with that directive in mind. Is it any wonder then, that Neon Demons feels like a high school creative writing assignment? Go back to making films you care about Refn, and lay off vanity projects written around family holidays.

 

Ed.

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