In a way, this film is a perfect example of form following function. What better way to show how empty and perverse the model scene in Los Angeles is, than to make an empty and perverse movie about it? If Nicolas Winding Refn wanted to make this point, he has made it loud and clear.
But the question is: did he really want to make this point? Or did he just want to take his cinematographic capabilities one step further, by taking the visual aesthetics to the limit, without bothering about the rest? 'The Neon Demon' is visually stunning, but lacks substance. The story about a 16 year old model being literally devoured by the fashion industry, is nothing more than a vehicle for the visual exuberance of the film. It is like a 'Vogue' magazine: there are many pages, but they are all filled with glamorous pictures, and very little text. You can browse through it, but it doesn't have a message, other than an endless display of beauty.
To accentuate the perversion of it all, Winding Refn had added some horror elements, which almost seem ridiculous, especially at the end of the film. There's also an irritating and very prominent soundtrack. The acting is mostly unnatural and pretentious. But if you like browsing the latest edition of Vogue magazine, perhaps this is the film for you.
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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