Thursday, 3 November 2016

The Neon Demon

Cast: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Bella Heathcote, and Karl Glusman

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

117 minutes (18) 2016
Widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Icon DVD Region 2

Rating: 5/10
Review by Donald Morefield

Hopeful young model Jesse (Elle Fanning, Maleficent, Super 8) arrives in L.A. where she meets helpful make-up artist Ruby (Jena Malone, Sucker Punch). How high Jesse climbs depends on how low she will fall. Although awash with surrealistic flourishes, The Neon Demon is never a serious contender to rival the artistic madness of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. Ultimately, this is just a sob story. Another ethereal soap opera that’s over-dressed with arty pretension.

“True beauty is the highest currency we have.”

The Pasadena motel owner cites movies Lolita and Hard Candy in dialogue, but this flick is not in their league. It is too leisurely paced, but nonetheless a picture that’s brimming with cool vibes; and it boasts the likes of Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks in guest appearances. It lacks the powerful twists of Switchblade Romance (aka: Haute Tension), and, in spite of a grand finale that descends into necrophilia and cannibalism, it is rather tragically composed as vampiric chic without fangs or powers. It fails to jump off its sub-cultural diving-board into dark weirdness in the way that the Soska sisters’ full-blooded American Mary did.

“I don’t want to be them. They want to be me.”

In the end, The Neon Demon seems unlikely to have much impact on the horror genre. It is, however, dazzlingly shot, thunderously scored, and sometimes deliriously camp in its attitudes, as a more than deliciously silly enough exercise in fashionable abstraction to become a cult classic. Views that this remains a major disappointment from the director of Valhalla Rising (surely an influence upon TV series Game Of Thrones?), crime dramas Drive, and Only God Forgives, and creator of the Pusher franchise, probably won’t harm its extravagant reputation too much.

No comments:

Post a Comment