LOOKING AT THIS decade alone, Nicolas Winding Refn is carving an interesting film career.
Making his name since The Pusher Trilogy, he has developed something of a love him / hate him approach to his movies.
From a personal perspective, Drive was one of the best films released that year, but Only God Forgives left me trying.
So I went into Neon Demon not knowing which side of the fence I’d fall.
As usual the cinematography was stunning, as you’re treated to a spectacular visual journey into the beautiful, yet vacant world of fashion.
This in part is what Winding Refn has been criticised for, both highly and poorly.
In this case it kind of works in his favour as it shines the light on the vacuous nature that the fashion industry can bring.
Elle Fanning plays the doe-eyed sixteen year old Jesse aspiring to break through as a model.
Innocence is something that Fanning has been typecast of late but it’s a note that she plays well and Neon Demon allows her to be seduced by a dark, intoxicating world.
Among the supporting roles are Jena Malone (an often cruelly overlooked actress) and she deserves due nod here as make up artist, Ruby.
As Jesse falls further into this world, entranced by its beauty. Like is the viewer we fall fowl to this facade, but the deeper you go, the darker and uglier the world around you becomes.
As a side note and a slight spoiler, the movie reminded me of Countess Dracula, a modern interpretation of the Hammer horror film that was released as a novel scribed by Guy Adams.
It’s probably loosely based on Countess Bathory, a notorious serial killer of historical infamy.
In conclusion, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but I found this movie intoxicating and enjoyable all the same, despite the fact that it didn’t necessarily anything new. The journey was a beautiful one and one that I think is worth a visit or two.
– Paul Farrell