Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 16 January 2017

The Neon Demon

What to say about Nicolas Winding Refn's latest THE NEON DEMON? Do I even want to say anything about it? We had been anticipating it, as we liked his DRIVE a lot, seen it several times, and I totally got and loved ONLY GOD FORGIVES, which alienated a lot, but it hypnotic hallucinogenic Tarantino-on-acid revenge tale with that amazing performance from Kristen Scott Thomas totally wowed me. (Reviews at Ryan Gosling label). 

THE NEON DEMON though seems to be all style and no substance, it starts great - super visuals and soundtrack. But whatever the "thing" that teen model Jesse has and which the other models want, somehow eludes me. She just seems passive and bland, and if she is the next big thing why is she staying in a seedy, rundown motel, run by a scuzzy Keanu Reeves? Then what do we make of that large animal in her room .... 

The sixteen year-old aspiring model Jesse arrives in Los Angeles expecting to be a successful model. Photographer Dean takes photos for her portfolio and dates her. Jesse befriends the lesbian makeup artist Ruby and then the envious models Gigi and Sarah at a party. Meanwhile the agency considers Jesse beautiful with a "thing" that makes her different and she is sent to the professional photographer Jack. Jesse attracts he attention of the industry and has a successful beginning of career. But Ruby, Gigi and Sarah are capable of doing anything to get her "thing". 

There are points to be made about the fashion industry and how it devours (literally here) new talent ... but we also get long pauses as that climax unfolds. I can't say any more about that, but one is left at the end thinking is that it?  Despite the grand guignol climaxes and that morgue scene, it is all rather forgettable. It is certainly though a polarising movie - some love it for the visuals and style, while others hate the story and the characters and those laughable eye-popping scenes! 

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