The Neon Demon
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
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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★★★★★ review by Evan on Letterboxd
The Neon Demon is a lot of things. Transcendent, hypnotic, and stylish are a few words that come to mind. This film had me hooked from the beginning credit sequence and it never let me go. I'm still kind of in a daze to be honest. Every frame of The Neon Demon is executed to absolute perfection. I cannot give the visuals enough praise. Honestly this is one of the best looking films I have ever seen. It's a five-course meal for the eyes. Also, the soundtrack/score is incredible. I RARELY buy a film's soundtrack and when I say rarely I mean never but I have already purchased the soundtrack from Amazon. Elle Fanning and Jenna Malone were both fantastic. There are so many things that stand out about TND: the music, performances, cinematography, lightning, editing, costumes, and makeup. Everything about this movie is so transfixing. I couldn't get enough. I LOVED this movie and I cannot wait to see it again and again and again.
The Neon Demon is Nicolas Winding Refn's masterpiece and my favorite film of his. It's so bold and so captivating. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire run-time. I can't stop thinking about it. Seriously one of my new all-time favorite movies; I'm talking at least top 25 material.
P.S. Even after those certain events, I still find Jenna Malone incredibly attractive.
★★★★½ review by nathaxnne walker on Letterboxd
P U R E T E R R O R
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is Nicolas Winding Refn's favorite movie. This is not immaterial to what follows. To discover that you are within a universe of fear, of unstoppable dread, of the total loss of agency. A universe made from rules inimical to your well-being, a universe that will consume you whole with extreme malevolence, indifferent or pleasured by your confusion, your suffering. In some movies there is a sense of fair play, of an unwritten contract with the audience, that if a level of engagement or trust is placed in the hands of the film, the film will reward or pay off that assumed trust by delivering a satisfying narrative, a just outcome for the characters and the audience. What if the film does not care about you, what if you are there for it to perpetuate itself, what if it feeds off of your terror, your fear? What if it generates and then consumes its own narrative, its own characters, in a form of sacrifice, an offering to what cannot be seen onscreen or intuited therefrom? What if no one and nothing is safe? What if the film is an instrument of generating and consuming terror to replicate, to make more of itself, to keep itself alive through the ages, to interweave its own matter in other films, in other consciousnesses? What if at the voided heart of The Neon Demon, there is something like a demon that lives there, that has been invited in, where a home has been make for it, and it takes up residence there, in its geometries and circuitries? What I know is this: there are few movies which flood my body with a sense of sustained, unrelenting terror like The Neon Demon. There is magick and glamour and bliss and fear until it is wholly consumed and drains out, leaving a cheap and worthless husk in its wake, barely able to sustain any level of illusion. Then and only then is it trash. This is all part of the work. The whole of it, the pattern traced to completion, becomes all the more terrifying when contemplated in recollection, in relatively calm reflection, when the adrenaline tensing has passed, and the clench of fear in the stomach begins to dissipate.
★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
honestly the opening and closing credits
of this film are better than most films, haha.
★★★★½ review by YI JIAN on Letterboxd
Beauty is not everything, it is the only thing that matters, how the film portrays its subjects is the only thing that matters, Refn made me see movies as nothing more than moving images, hyper-stylized, hypnotic, soothing, a phantasmagoria of strobe lights, uniform colors, red to blue to red to blue, the purple sky dropping glitter as if the entire world is artificial -- a perfume commercial, dark lipstick suppressing the face's glow, Elle Fanning enclosed in a triangle stare as deadly as a mountain cat's, honestly, what plot? We don't walk into a fashion show asking for plot, just sit back and --
★★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
This film hates me. It hates you. It hates us. It hates everything, and everyone. Okay, not everyone -- but it loathes both superficial, soulless, almost metallic men and women alike. It's bitter, it's cynical, it's angry and it's pessimistic. It portrays these altered women as products of a patriarchal environment, zombified and conditioned by authoritative and systematically powered men to value their exterior, they're individual beauty, over all things spiritual and non-material. And it despises, it downright detests these self-absorbed men even more so, these men shifting the flesh and blood of people into forcibly vacant, money-producing machines. These men, the crafters and creators of said system, the exploits, the hollowing and the dehumanization of the female victims -- of a culture that treats women as objects, as currency, as recyclable, as a shallow shell meant to be placed and perform, to be observed for their genes and even their genetic altercations, their superficiality. It doesn't execrate all human beings -- no, not those who have avoided the manipulation of a materialistic and extraneously dominated reality -- but it certainly does execrate a hateful, male-molded industry, and culture, deserving of all the abhorrence it receives.
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