The Neon Demon
Was very hyped going into this, probably the film I wanted to see most all year. Very pleased with the film. Right from the opening credits and the first shot of Elle, I was drawn in. Touches of Refn everywhere. As usual the soundtrack and film score are ace. The lights and color in the film are so in your face, absolutely gorgeous to watch. As expected, characters and plot depth is sacrificed for the atmosphere that is set in the film. It really works though. Characters are meant to be shallow, they are pretty models in a cutthroat environment of the fashion/modeling industry. Its a survival of the fittest environment, where the new cat comes along and threatens the survival of the more seasoned models, with her simplistic beauty and innocence that everyone just fawns over. I got some real Black Swan vibes from the general plot and grim nature underneath something meant to be pretty. In this world of “beauty” there is some serious visceral horror. Love how the seediness of Los Angeles is captured, as exemplified by the dull sleazy looking motel. I’m not sure everyone will love it. I can see many people disliking it. There were some shock horror bits I could have done without that I feel got included for the sake of the shock value. I can’t complain much about it though because it fits right in the psychotic realm of the film.
Could the characters have used more development? Yes. I think it would change the experience though. Also it would spoil what the film leads towards. First half of the film is just visually beautiful and alluring. The next half I’d say the horror of it really kicks in and everything comes at you fast. Overall, as far as Refn films go I’d say Drive is still his best (and will be hard to top) but TND was for me much better than the others I’ve seen.