Refn (and his perfectly-chosen collaborators) once again demonstrates his utmost command of cinema as a visual medium with the savage, beautiful and excessive sensory assault that is The Neon Demon. Martinez’s oppressive score throbs and pulses as one nightmarish vision after another is blared directly in our faces. Sublime.
It’s a hot mess. The absurd and tasteless The Neon Demon has style to spare – but as Refn has oft been accused, the substance remains utterly superficial, as any meaning or depth the material may once have had is lost in the chaos of lurid and shocking-for-its-own sake imagery. Ridiculous.
The Neon Demon swerves wildly between visionary genius and laughably trashy “shock” cinema – it deserves both one and five stars, so we’ve split the difference. You’ll either love or loathe it.
CAST: Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Winding Refn
WRITERS: Nicolas Winding Refn, Mary Laws, Polly Stenham
SYNOPSIS: When aspiring model Jesse (Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has.
The Neon Demon was screened In Competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.