The Neon Demon(2016)
- RatedM18 /GenreHorror, Thriller
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Beauty becomes the beast in Nicolas Winding-Refn’s latest psychological horror ‘The Neon Demon’.
The movie follows Elle Fanning’s Jessie, an aspiring model whose recent arrival in Los Angeles causes anarchy amongst more other wannabe models.
But this is no ordinary movie about models; it is somewhat a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of beauty and narcissism.
If you’ve watched ‘Drive’ and ‘Only God Forgives’, wanting to be America’s next top model becomes a blood sport in director Nicolas Winding Refn’s hands.
The movie made headlines when it premiered at this year’s Cannes festival; with critics calling it out for its wanton violence, cannibalism, and lesbian necrophilia.
Yup. Definitely not your typical fashion flick, and undoubtedly fiercer than any Tyra Banks’ show.
So who is The Neon Demon in ‘The Neon Demon’?
“It could be anything,” Fanning quipped, “I like people to come up with their own interpretation.”
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“The Neon Demon is not necessarily a person; it’s a spirit that possesses you and takes over in this beauty-obsessed world,” Fanning said in an interview.
“For a while, I thought it was LA when I read the script. And then it started turning into ‘Is it me? Is it Jessie?’ she added.
In the movie, Jesse meets a make-up artist, Ruby (Jena Malone), who introduces her to models Gigi and Sarah (Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee).
The four of them then gets trapped in an unhealthy circle of jealousy and ambition, which sees them going to extremes in their desire to keep looking the way they do. The movie also stars Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks.
The 18-year-old believes that it's very relevant to use the modeling industry as an example of how much society values youth and beauty, even though she feels it's undoubtedly a "taboo subject".
“The definition of beauty is different to different people,” she noted.
“The movie is a reaction when the beauty-obsessive culture conflicts with the longevity of it, and everything just becomes younger,” director Refn said.
“Beauty will become the next class war because money and career – the things that used to divide and conquer – are no longer relevant. It’s becoming much more about how you’re born, and beauty becomes a powerful medium,” Refn observed.
Explaining the horror element in the movie, Refn said that making films that have potent issues are better told “through fairy tales” because people can have different interpretations of the story.
“The last thing that a teenager wants is to be told what to do. But if you can give them a vision to react to, then it will plant thoughts.”
‘The Neon Demon’ opens 22 September 2016