Let me prefix this review by saying I had to watch this film 3 times before I felt that I could make a proper opinion. I don’t think this is the most complicated narrative Refn has put forward but like his other films I really do feel that you have to watch this more than once.
The Neon Demon is a lot of things. Transcendent, hypnotic, and stylish are a few words that come to mind. This film had me hooked from the beginning credit sequence and it never let me go. Every frame of The Neon Demon is executed to absolute perfection. I cannot give the visuals enough praise, this is one of the best looking films I have ever seen. It is an effective, albeit deeply disturbing commentary on physical artificiality and the social construction of beauty as the chief significance in not only the entertainment and fashion industries, but in life, relationships, everything.
The movies reputation DID somewhat precede it, to an extent. The infamous scenes (especially one of them, which they won’t spoil) seemed to be in the film to be shocking just for shock’s sake. I mean you go into a Refn film expecting a certain style (which you do get, in spades) and someone who loves to push the envelope but I think he went a bit far for not much payoff. I read an article in Empire magazine which tried to justify the scene but I just didn’t agree with him.
The extras on this disc, which are, let’s say, not the most extensive selection, but are still pretty decent. We have a making of featurette, nothing much more that a selection of talking heads and a making of the soundtrack which is more of the same but features solely Refn and Cliff Martinez but does offer insight into the two’s working relationship, which was cool. There is also a commentary with Refn and Elle Fanning, I’ve only listened to about half of it but what I’ve heard was very interesting. While Fanning is quick to say that this is her first ever commentary I think she does extremely well.
There are so many things that stand out about The Neon Demon: the music, performances, cinematography, lighting, editing, costumes, and makeup. Everything about this movie is so transfixing. A film I think everyone should watch, at least once.
| Peter Fletcher
Thriller, Horror | Denmark, 2016 | 18 | Icon Film Distribution | 31st October 2016 (UK)|Dir.Nicholas Winding Refn | Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Bella Heathcote, Karl Glusman | Buy:[Blu-ray]