'NEON DEMON': Five Stars (Out of Five)
Nicolas Winding Refn's newest masterpiece, about a young aspiring model trying to make it in L.A.'s blood thirsty modeling world. Refn directed and co-wrote the movie; with Mary Laws and Polly Stenham. It stars Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Karl Glusman, Christina Hendricks, Desmond Harrington, Alessandro Nivola and Keanu Reeves. The film received very polarizing reviews from critics (like nearly all of Refn's movies do), and it was a bomb at the Box Office (also like nearly all of his other films). I loved it!
16-year-old Jesse (Fanning) moves to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a famous model. Her parents passed away, and she's having to make it in the big city alone. Once there, she meets an aspiring photographer, named Dean (Glusman), who takes pictures of her, for her portfolio, and begins to date her. Everyone Jesse meets sees something special in her (in her appearance that is), and she has no problems getting modeling gigs. This causes a lot of jealousy among the other models, which makes it a very dangerous business for Jesse to fit into. As the film shows us, the modeling world is extremely cutthroat; and people will eat each other alive just to make it (figuratively, and perhaps literally).
The movie, like all of Refn's films, is definitely not for everyone; it's the type of flick that most people will either love or hate (that's why it's reviews are so polarizing). I loved it. It's definitely disturbing, gross, fucked up, bizarre, and completely insane; but I love all of those things (in movies, that is). It's stylistically awesome; and it's filled with mesmerizing visuals, and an awesome soundtrack (which is very nostalgic, 80s sounding electronic music). The film is reminiscent of David Lynch's 80's work (but better); and it also feels like a much darker (and more fucked up) 'BLACK SWAN' (but better). The movie also has great (and very insightful) commentary on the looks obsessed society we all live in; which is a topic I'm very much interested in (having always been made fun of for my unique appearance). It's something that a lot of people deny, but nearly everyone is guilty of (either in a knowing, or unconscious way). I don't buy that Elle Fanning is the most beautiful woman around (she's not my type, besides the fact that she's way too young), but she plays the part well. Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee are all scene-stealers though; and I read that Malone helped Refn improvise a lot of the film, including one really fucked up sex scene. Of course Refn's direction, and his co-written script, are masterful as well. It's one of the most memorable films I've probably ever seen!