The Neon Demon
This film is a contemptible piece of cinematic trash.
Let me keep this review short and to the point. The Neon Demon may qualify as the worst movie of 2016 with a great cast. Allegedly a movie telling the trauma of young women trying to break through as models in Los Angeles, it is really a story of greed, cannibalism and necrophilia.
Danish Director Nicolas Winding Refn may have earned some praise in the past, but this is a film that is astonishingly wretched from beginning to end. Elle Fanning plays Jesse, a 16-year-old waif who has just arrived in L.A. to try to capitalize on her beauty. Falling under the guidance of an agent named Roberta (Christina Hendricks from TV’s Mad Men), she begins to mesmerize every photographer while quickly alienating her rivals.
In the process, Jesse quickly draws the attention of Ruby (Jena Malone), a cosmetologist with sexual appetites and a hidden desire to get friendly with dead women. Having a part-time job helping to make the recently deceased look presentable at funerals, a good looking female corpse has a way of attracting her attention.
Jesse lives in a beat up motel run by Keanu Reeves, another deviant who views young female occupants in the same fashion that grizzly bears hunt for salmon swimming upstream. Aside from Ms. Hendricks’ Roberta, the only other likeable character in the entire film is Dean (Carl Glusman), a young man who simply wants to help Jesse.
The central theme of this disastrous film is that “Beauty is not everything, it’s the only thing.” Any models over the age of 21 have to resort to plastic surgery to hold their place in line, and their attempts to devour young competition has multiple meanings.
Let me leave you with this spoiler alert. The end of the film will leave you sarcastically shaking your head as you watch one model (Bella Heathcote) vomit up an eyeball of her rival after which her friend (Abbey Lee) gobbles it up off the floor. You need to know that “Disney-type” theme if you think this review is a backhanded way of urging you to watch this movie at any time.