I liked director ‘s Drive. I read it as a love story disguised in a violent action movie, an uneasy combination that worked perfectly, to a large extent thanks to the presence in the lead role of Ryan Gosling, one of my preferred actors. From the same director comes now The Neon Demon a film that confirms the fame of Refn as a director who does not hesitate to create violence on screen in a manner that would almost make Tarantino blush, but yet has always another different message that provides substance to his movies.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1974419/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1974419/

 

‘The Neon Demon’ begins as the innocent-girl-in-LA genre, with Jesse () landing in California and finding pretty soon herself engaged on a stellar modeling path. All is due to her looks, she has the charisma and innocence that makes the room light and warm up when she steps in. Her beauty is her strength, but may also become soon her main liability as she becomes a threat to the other beautiful women around and they may fight back by all means. And ‘by all means’ indeed means ‘all means’ – we are in the beauty industry, and the demons can be as dark and scary as in a haunted mansion.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

Much of the rest of the film is in almost pure horror genre. Some will love it, some will hate it, some will exit the screening theater at some point. My impressions are pretty mixed. I am not intimidated by explicit horror or sex on screen, I have seen worse horror in some Korean movies for example, and these actually fall within the logic (or un-logic) of the story. The film is visually striking, with plenty of beautiful video art elements, too many actually, and this is one of the aspects that I did not like. There are so many beautiful filmed scenes and they are so long that at some point the whole experience smells of narcissism. Same about the usage of electronic music.  is an excellent Jesse, beautiful and vulnerable, threatened and threatening. She is actually one almost sure bet for the list of the stars of tomorrow, with no less than 54 roles on record, three for each of the 18 years of her age (her first one was ‘Lucy 2 years’ in I Am Sam!). makes a short appearance, but his fans should not go to this film just to see him. The last 15 minutes of the film put in context all that we have seen until then, but I have seen better endings.

‘The Neon Demon’ is not a film all will like, and it’s not easy viewing even for those who will like it. It’s worth being seen despite its problems. For dully warned audiences only.