Film Review: The Neon Demon

“Beauty Isn’t Everything. It’s The Only Thing…”

Much like marmite, the conservative party and battenburg cake, Nicolas Winding Refn has established himself as the leading figure of being someone you either love or someone you really, really hate, where although films such as Bronson and Drive have put Refn on the Hollywood map in recent years, his last venture in the form of Only God Forgives was something that myself and many others believed to be his most divisive work yet. What side was I on I hear you ask? The one which thought that Refn had really lost the plot, with Only God Forgives being an ultra-violent mess from start to finish. Now, Refn is back with The Neon Demon, a neo-noir horror based upon the dark side of the fashion industry starring Elle Fanning as the 16 year old Jesse, the blue eyed deer in the headlights, desperate for her time in the spotlight after recently moving to Los Angeles, who realises the only way to make money is to make the most of her stunning, natural beauty. Que necrophilia, cannibalism, stunning visuals and a Oscar worthy score by Refn regular Cliff Martinez and The Neon Demon is indeed a complete work of art, a work of art like Only God Forgives, is bound to split audiences right down the middle. What side am I on this time? The positive one. And some.

Pulling in riffs from a wide range of famous movies from the past, The Neon Demon prides itself on featuring echoes of Black Swan, Irreversible, Carrie, and even more deliciously, the movies of David Lynch, particularly that of Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive, with both featuring the notion that sometimes imagery and visuals can be so overpowering and hypnotic that the sense of ambiguity such films create can be put to one side with a strange sense of rational compromise. The same can be said of The Neon Demon, a film so hell bent on blasting you with out of this world colours, visuals, and imagery that you have to think twice to comprehend that Refn is indeed colour blind. That’s right, the director of the best looking film of 2016 can’t see the beauty he has created. Ironic really, in a sad sense, yet there is no denying The Neon Demon is indeed a spectrum of artful amazingness, something you wouldn’t really think of in regards to a horror movie in the traditional sense, yet the inclusion of obvious shock-inducing exploitation goodness such as THAT scene and things going a bit stabby stabby come the final act means Refn has created a film which stays with you for days on end. The Neon Demon will indeed divide audiences yet for my money, it’s up there with Drive, making it one of the best, and most surprising, films of the year so far.

Overall Score: 9/10

Posted on 13/07/2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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