Looks aren’t ev­ery­thing

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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