Skin Deep? The Neon Demon Film Review

The Neon Demon is the tenth film directed by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn; the third consecutively to debut at Cannes and the second to be met there with a chorus of boos. The film is a pristine gut-punch. It follows Jessie, played to career-making perfection by Elle Fanning, a sixteen-year-old arriving in LA to try and break into the modelling industry. Perhaps the less traditionally striking of the film’s several beautiful women, the screenplay implies that it is her innocence, and the fact she arrives untouched by plastic surgery, that which makes her the object of envy, and infatuation, for almost every character in the film. Refn says it’s his first horror-film: an odd sentiment given the graphic violence of most of his preceding movies and the initial fairy-tale sheen of this one, but it does indeed contain some of the most horrific acts I’ve seen piled on after another on screen. I saw it twice.

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