THE NEON DEMON — CANNES 2016
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Cannes, France — All high-contrast shiny surfaces and fetishized sensual (albeit grotesque) fantasy, Nicholas Winding Refn’s ultra slick Neon Demon isn’t the redemption he was looking for in Cannes (we'd all rather forget "Only God Forgives").
The film's badass techno soundtrack (composed by Cliff Martinez) is to die for, and characters do.
Elle Fanning is divine as an underage model who gets in way over her all-too-lovely head. As we know from movies like "The Player," bad things happen in Pasadena. Even worse things happen in L.A. proper.
The most infuriating thing about this blemished picture, is how easily Refn could have corrected plot holes that even a cursory script polish could have addressed.
There's 90% of a story here. In interviews, Refn has overreached by comparing himself to Lars Von Trier, and said that Von Trier is over the hill. Clearly, Refn needs to pick his battles better since he has yet to make a film half as rigorous as even Von Trier's weakest efforts.
"The Neon Demon" is cool in its minimalist form, but Nicholas Winding Refn still has a lot of serious woodshedding to do. In the meantime, drink something sticky and watch "The Neon Demon" for its delectable visual style and detached sense of irony. Oh, and see it for its instant-cult-status-approved scene of lesbian necrophilia with Jena Malone on top. It had to happen in Cinema sooner or later.
Rated R. 117 mins.