THE NEON DEMON
Looks aren’t everything
released OUT NOW! 2016 | 18 | Blu-ray/dVd/download/ VOd
Director Nicolas Winding refn Cast elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, abbey lee
If The Neon Demon were projected onto the walls of the Tate Modern it would make a beautiful piece of motion art. As a film with an apparent narrative it’s less successful.
Possibly after digesting Dennis Pennis’s bon mot, “In any other job if you walk around like a drugcrazed zombie you get the sack, but in the fashion industry you get a multi-million-dollar cosmetic contract,” 16-year-old Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, and runs into bitchy models, egotistical designers and a strange lesbian stylist, who may actually be the biggest threat.
Is it horror? Is it sci-fi? Kind of, because Refn creates another world here, strikingly shot, stunningly lit and immaculately furnished – with darkness lurking just beneath the surface.
But it’s a frustrating film, rarely as good as you’d like it to be. It plays better in the memory than in real time, where one vague, glacially paced sequence follows another. The story isn’t strong enough and the characters aren’t interesting enough to sustain two hours of arresting imagery. Style over substance is its mantra.
Extras Two short featurettes: one on the music (six minutes); one featuring brief interviews with the director and star (four minutes). Plus a trailer and a gallery. Russell Lewin
While directing, Refn wore a keffiyeh wrapped round his waist to feel secure – he called it his “power blanket”.
Other sights seen through Roger Moore’s For Your Eyes Only legs.