The Neon Demon (2016)
April 2, 2018 8:33 AM - Subscribe

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

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some pro
This isn’t just pastiche David Lynch or yet another caustic yarn about pampered Californian types behaving badly. What makes it so distinctive and so jarring is the way it continually shifts tone and perspective. It is elegant and juvenile, shocking and satirical by turns. The Independent

Less Prêt-à-Porter with teeth than The Company of Wolves from hell and in heels, it offers a bloody chamber of symbolic provocations (lunar cycles, occultist trappings) cooked up by a film-maker taking weekly tarot readings from the Chilean surrealist Alejandro Jodorowsky and driven by an intoxication with the superficiality of the photographic image. The Guardian
some con
The problem in trying to critically assess Nicolas Winding Refn’s putrid atrocity of a film The Neon Demon is that regardless how much outrage is thrown at it, Winding Refn invariably wins, since that’s exactly what he’s after. The director has set out to make the most repellently misogynistic film imaginable, yet he’s disguised it as a postmodern feminist satire. The Film Stage

The Neon Demon is hot garbage that dares you to call it offensive. In addition, it’s offensive. The New York Times
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I saw this a few (well, I guess, two) years back. I don't recall much of it but I certainly remember being able to sit through it, which I could not do with the bloated, washed-candy Only God Forgives, and which I only did with Drive out of a sense of responsibility (the latter turned me off Gosling for a long time, until I came around with last year's Blade Runner 2049).

I think I was able to handle this mainly because I decided early on that it was set in the Glamorama expanded universe, a book I am unapologetic about thoroughly enjoying (but have not read in 10 years, and shan't read again). A lot of these reviewers make noise about it being "Lynchian", but I didn't detect that at all, other than it being lodged in the tedious fundament that is Los Angeles. It was quite a straightforward narrative with appropriately-placed story beats and a predictable though exciting climax.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:43 PM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

the tedious fundament that is Los Angeles.

Yeah, we're so tedious that almost every movie you ever loved was filmed here.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:31 PM on April 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

How you feel about this film might best be illluminated by trying to graph it according to Vonnegut’s the Shape of a Story diagram.

Do you think Neon Demon looks more like Cinderella, Hamlet or Kafka?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:08 AM on April 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

[Whoops Unicorn on the cob, looks like your link went funny: was this right target? There's a direct link to the relevant KV video too.]
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 3:45 PM on April 5, 2018

Oops yes thank you, that is the right link!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:54 AM on April 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Going in, I knew very little about this movie and was excited trying to guess who the titular demon would turn out to be (is it her? is it that guy? ah, it's the triforce thing!) but then people started humping cadavers and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The music was rad
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I came into this movie ready to absolutely hate it based on the reviews highlighting the misogyny of the film, and while I don't think it was especially feminist or groundbreaking in its observations about female competition driven by male resource-control (all these women might have been friends in a different universe where men didn't drive an industry based on bodily judgement!), I did actually quite like it. The visuals and soundtrack really highlighted how disorienting and alienating being only your body as reflected by others can be. One of the weird symptoms of my PMDD I have to keep a very weather eye out for is sudden, intense, unnecessarily cruel (both to myself and others) comparison of my worth as rated by my attractiveness in relation to male attention and other women's success. The Neon Demon honestly looks kinda how my brain feels for about 4 days a month.
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:34 PM on January 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was into the ultraviolet mise en scène until it jumped a rather homophobic shark in the last act and I felt my time investment had been betrayed.
posted by larrybob at 9:49 PM on February 3, 2019

I finally caught up with this last night. I enjoyed it. I have a lot of time for creepy, slow-moving films with gorgeous imagery and obscure, occult themes. I particularly enjoyed the presence of Abbey Lee, who played the Dag in Fury Road. And the electronic score was perfect really.
posted by misterbee at 5:44 PM on October 15, 2019

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