The Neon Demon is a beautifully shot modern fairytale, and even though the movie got very mixed reactions from the critics, it is my top film of 2016. The film takes on the vapid world of fashion and its models.
With its use of symbology and metaphors both obvious and more hidden, The Neon Demon gives the audience something to think about. Especially when the film opens with Ellie Fanning in an electric-blue dress, reclining upon a pale couch, drenched in crimson blood. Is it a crime scene or a fashion shoot?
Jessie (Fanning) is a 16-year-old, newly arrived in LA who is the attention off all with their battle-hardened smiles and dead-eyed robotic faces, her youthful looks are a fetishised object to hardly obscure desire. Her innocence is her protection for now but as geeks of horror will know all too well once a virgin is penetrated all bets are off.
For all that is beautifully and musically electrifying, this is a story about commodified consumption of youth and the film carefully choreographs a carnival of voyeurism in which corruptible beauty is ‘the only thing’.
By the end of film, you think you’ve seen it all, by Refn just keeps pushing, and eventually lands on a sequence so jaw-dropping that you with either howl or cheer.