The Neon Demon

I remember watching this film in Los Angeles when it debuted with my oldest. She hated and I loved it. She is certifiable and I’m sane. So you don’t have to question whose’s opinion was correct. This movie is probably my favorite Nicolas Winding Refn to date. And that is saying a great deal when you considered he directed Bronson, the Pusher Trilogy, Drive, and Only God Forgives. What an amazing body of work for art. To say I’m a fan would be an insult. Neon Demon is arguably his strongest work to date. Layers, upon layers of clever dialogue, incredible direction, and social commentary about the consumption of beauty leaves me in awe.

It is difficult to put in words what this film is actually about. Because the belief of what is beautiful, the value of beauty, and the consumption of it in our society is so subjective. It is kind of like trying to quantifying if the justice born of vengeance in Park Chan Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy actually exist. So instead of trying to discern the merits of each question while watching the film. It seems like a better use of time is to watch the film. Appreciate it and marvel at the attempt to speak to these themes on the big screen.

The film is the classic story of a young pretty white girl arrives in LA with a dream of cashing in on her most valuable asset, her beauty. What happens next is a Grimm Brothers’ modern fairytale run wild. The big baddies are evil personified. They are as vicious as antagonists can be. Kudos to the actors that made memorable villains.

Lastly, I have to say one thing. I never heard of Elle Fanning before this film. Her freshness added to the depth of embracing this story as her own. I thought that she created a character whether or not it was by accident or not believable in every way. And Jena Malone rocked along with Keanu Reeves. Is it possible for him not to bring his “A-game” to any role?

Enjoy this great work of art. You may be disappointed or you may be blown away. I was. 🙂

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Author: Wil Munny

I hope you have not seen any film that I discuss. It is better that way.

9 thoughts on “The Neon Demon

  1. Okay, so I will start by saying that I didn’t hate it as much the second time around. I felt like the ending made much more sense on the second viewing, but it’s still one of my least favorite films out of the ones we’ve seen together.

    I think it really just boils down to a boring story. The acting was good, visually it was obviously a great film, but the movie fell flat in getting it’s theme across in an exciting way. It’s funny to me because I know your thoughts on the protagonist in Midsommar, but to me, Jessie is a much more boring character with little real character development. She is basically just there to give the other characters motivations — I guess the only thing that excuses this is that (I think) the fact that Jessie’s a blank slate is kind of the point, so you got lucky there. The girls in this industry don’t matter, the industry “chews you up and spits you out” and you will be forgotten no matter how great you seem, whatever whatever. She’s supposed to be a blank slate because that’s how the world sees her and that’s the only way she can get ahead anyway, is if people see her and use her as they want to. The problem is, I just don’t care!

    They get the point across, it’s just BORING. I still felt like “did I need to spend two hours just to figure out that the modeling industry is cruel?” It just did nothing for me and I honestly don’t think I’ll rewatch it again haha. But I see some of your points and I don’t think it was an awful film, but I definitely don’t think it’s a must-see. But that’s just me 🙂

    1. I agree with what she says and I can see why some people would really enjoy the movie. It was really visually appealing but when it came to actually story telling not so much. I wasn’t able to connect with the main character and it just seemed that she was a tool in the stories plot. Which can be okay in some movies when there are other active characters doing interesting things, but it was really just her. It led to a very long film that I couldn’t understand why would I even care about the main protagonist. I felt that the plot had potential, but the way they executed it was bad. On the bright side it was really cool looking visually. 🙃

      1. You too? I guess I have to accept they fact we are not twins on this film. I can see what you are saying. However, I honestly believe you missed the finer points of the film. And it can easily be lost on you with one viewing. I don’t think the structure allows me to strongly defend it. I still think it is high art.

    2. I guess I will have to take this as a win. “I see some of your points and I don’t think it was an awful film.” That made your post so much more enjoyable to read. Please lead with confirming statements in the future. I think you are holding on to grudges. The cinematography ensured the film wasn’t boring. Visually ever scene was shot with so much vision. I don’t get how it could be viewed as boring. And the double meaning for the conversation were so much more apparent. I believe she was targeted and stalked the entire film. Watching that was a fun ride to me. You just need to watch it again.

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