Newly arrived in Los Angeles, 16-year-old aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) quickly breaks into a fashion world keen to exploit her virginal beauty, but the qualities that make her a hot property in fashion shoots and on the catwalk also make her an object of jealousy and desire in The Neon Demon.
Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s immensely stylish art-house film won’t be too all tastes. Decadent and dazzling, it has elements of dream-like fairytale, surreal horror and deadpan satire, all bound together by a hypnotic electronic score from Refn’s frequent collaborator, Cliff Martinez.
“Naive, narcissistic and cold-bloodedly ambitious”
As Jesse, Fanning is terrific: simultaneously naive, narcissistic and cold-bloodedly ambitious. And her co-stars are spot-on, too, with striking performances from Jena Malone, as Jesse’s makeup artist mentor; Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee, as rival models; Christina Hendricks, as the fashion agent who gives Jesse her big break; and Keanu Reeves, as the manager of a sleazy Pasadena motel.
For some, the film is as shallow as the fashion world it depicts, yet surrender to its seductive surface gloss and you will find it perversely mesmerising.
Certificate 18. Runtime 117 mins. Director Nicolas Winding Refn
The Neon Demon is released on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download on Monday 31 October from Icon
- Audio commentary with Nicholas Winding Refn & Elle Fanning
- Making of the music with Nicholas Winding Refn & Cliff Martinez
- Dazed interview with Nicholas Winding Refn & Elle Fanning
- Image gallery