The Neon Demon (2016)

“Some real Lolita shit, man.”

 What’s it about?

Jesse has always dreamed of being a superstar model. Turns out, modelling is a shitty career full of shitty people.

Who’s in it?

Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcoate, Abbey Lee, Karl Glusman, Christina Hendricks and Keanu Reeves.

Why should I watch it?

+ Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, it’s an unabashedly gorgeous movie if anything
+ Simple in essence, but made of a bunch of small, shallow parts equalling a massive comprehensive exploration of a shallow whole
+ Great performances, especially by Elle Fanning and Jena Malone, really keep you invested
+ Jena Malone wears so many faces in this movie, it’s incredible
+ Not to mention some of the scenes she had to act, how anyone agreed to film this is beyond reason
+ But reason isn’t usually something that factors into arthouse cinema, and this is definitely that
+ You like your gore? Your creeping sense of psychological horror? This does those in spades
+ An incredible soundtrack that actively informs the viewer rather than accompanying them
+ A solid exploration of the world of modelling; i.e. how fucking dreadful it all is
+ So much room for interpretation and discussion, so if you like your film snobbery, this is certainly for you. Or is it?
+ That’s kind of the point. It’s not really supposed to ‘be’ for anyone

Why shouldn’t I watch it?

–  Arthouse? This slow moving film with barely any dialogue filled with excessive imagery and negative vibes? This movie? Nahhhh
– I mean, it’s a real downer for a start
– No one is likeable, and even if that is on purpose, it doesn’t make it any easier to watch
– Really makes two hours feel like three
– Self-indulgent like you wouldn’t believe
– Just overall unpleasant in some of its imagery, can make for a hard watch
– Some imagery will go right over your head, and you will never find the answer you’re looking for
– Ends maybe twice before it really ends
– And even then it goes on a little for the credit roll
– Do you really need to be told modelling is a terrible profession full of manipulative, horrible people?
– Dialogue is painstakingly dull almost the entire way through, and even if that’s the point, it’s still a turn-off
– Did we mention it’s slow? It’s slow, slow, slowwwwww
– Modelling sucks
– Way too little Keanu Reeves

Anything else?

Unpleasant, slow and shallow as it is; it all kind of gels together into a work of art that stands perfectly as a complete exploration of a nasty, terrible world. It’s not an easy watch, it might not even be a good watch, but it is a near fully-realised piece of cinema that succeeds in its intentions, however shallow or meaningless they may seem.

If you can appreciate cinema as an artistic platform to which standards and context can never truly be fixed to; this movie might be for you. If you hated everything about that last sentence, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration giving this a pass.


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12 thoughts on “The Neon Demon (2016)

  1. This was my first experience with Refn. Yes, I know I have to see Drive. The only thing I liked about this one was the style and the soundtrack because I didn’t get everything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, you pretty much have to make of this movie what you will, because they sure don’t give you much in the way of substantial reasons to invest yourself 😉
      Spare yourself if it’s not your speed, but do see Drive, it’s certainly more fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been recommended that movie. I can understand what he was trying to do but some of it was just over my head. Maybe that will change if I watch it again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Accidentally deleted your correction to “We infallible creatures” but if that and you autocorrect spelling above combined don’t prove your point I don’t know what will ;D

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I kind of want to see it for the visual art alone! I also happen to adore Jena Malone and Elle Fanning. I think I could handle the the two hours, but I’m also not opposed to stopping a movie halfway if it’s a bit slow/long. Also, as a photographer, I can put up with watching terrible/awful people characters. It’s a lot less problematic than dealing with actual divas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should mention the supporting cast of models, which is minus Jena Malone, are notable divas and carry themselves as such 🙂
      I felt relatively gripped the entire time, so I saw no reason to switch off, but I can imagine that varies wildly from person to person, depending on their capacity to bear with slow burns. Guess you’ll just have to find out first-hand 🙂


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