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The Neon Demon

the neon demon

Cannibal Klein – ½-star

So it seems Drive was a fluke. Following on from the much hated Only God Forgives (2013), which I quite liked, comes a full-blown ascent up one’s own bum hole. The bum hole I refer to is Nicolas Winding Refn’s. He has chosen to tell a tale of a young girl ascending through the world of fashion, infatuating and infuriating all around her in the process. Elle Fanning plays Jesse, a just turned 16-year-old adolescent who wants to make it as a model and manages to do so with great ease. This is due largely to the fact that Refn portrays all men as sexual deviants of various shades. The one man who isn’t inclined to rape Jesse suffers from the other great male cliché whereby he will rescue her from herself.

Neither of the sexes come out smelling of roses; while men are the nefarious predators women are at heart vain callous bitches who will stop at nothing to damage and destroy any competition standing in their way. They’re all just controlled by the moon and their periods anyway, as one of many dumb and puerile scenes illustrates. The film will no doubt garner cult status from the various scenes which certainly warrant an 18s certificate. Yet it is easily one of the most tedious and unpleasant films I’ve seen this year. None of the scenes intended to shock do, they are simply boring and tiresome.

All supporting roles are one-dimensional caricatures which leave you wondering if the actors were hoping for Drive aswell. They are dispensed with as quickly as they appear further underlining Refn’s desire to sacrifice everything at the altar of the image.

Initially one feels the film isn’t being exploitative as Refn focuses on faces instead of naked body shots, that is until he has two naked women washing each other off in the shower to the sound of pumping dance music. By this time however I was already wondering if I would have a Guinness or a G&T in the pub. Much has been made of the visuals of Refn’s films and while there are without question some visually striking scenes, the film is lit like a softcore 70’s porn film with dialogue to match.

I wouldn’t recommend this film to anybody except film fans who like to see how far a film maker buys into their own mythology thereby losing all sense of perspective. There is great truth to the saying beauty is only skin deep and Refn makes us realise, plot, character development and believable dialogue are the soul of a good film. Next.

The Neon Demon opens Friday the 8th of July

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