The Neon Demon (2016)

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Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Keanu Reeves


A young ingénue model arrives in L.A. and seems to have no trouble landing a contract with an agency and working with the most prestigious impresarios. Other industry workers watch in wonder, and envy, as the thousands they spend on plastic surgery counts for nothing next to real beauty.

The Review

The Danish provocateur turns positively Lynchian in this critique of the narcissism of the fashion world, thinly veiled as a vampire story. The prominent techno soundtrack and visually formalist elements also call to mind Glazer's Under the Skin, though the message is less obscure. It's a loud, unapologetically sensuous experience, centred around the guileless, if increasingly ruthless and assured character of Jesse. It falters somewhat on the audience's ability to accept the dramatic effect that the homely Miss Fanning has on everyone with whom she comes into contact, but this is also part of its oddness, and the turn taken in the last reel will no doubt surprise and exasperate in equal measure.