Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon is a beautifully shot yet polarizing film. It’s either shallow, pretentious, sensationalistic and self-indulgent or a bold haunting hypnotic work of suspense. I’m still not sure if I liked it or not, but It has certainly remained with me since my viewing of the film over the weekend. My reaction is typical — the movie has gotten a very mixed reaction from critics and film geeks.
My viewing has prompted a deep dive into interviews and analysis of the film, and I thought I’d share some of the insights into The Neon Demon ending, the symbology and metaphors both obvious and more hidden. I’ll also attempt to answer some of your The Neon Demon questions.
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Nicolas Winding Refn‘s name appears many times in The Neon Demon, in both the opening and closing credits. But even if his name weren’t mentioned, nobody would mistake this darkly funny horror movie as anything but a Refn film. This time around, however, the director behind Only God Forgives, Drive, and Bronson tells a story from a woman’s perspective — which is a first in his career.
The Neon Demon stars Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Bella Heathcote, and, in a part that was shot over the course of three days, Keanu Reeves. Which one of these characters, with the possible exception of Reeves’ sleazy motel manager, is the titular demon is up to the viewer to decide. In my brief conversation with Refn, he refers to Jesse as the Neon Demon, but his story, which he co-wrote with Mary Laws and Polly Stenham, leaves plenty of room for an audience to think otherwise.
Sometimes you never fully know what to expect from Refn, as proven by our own Jacob Hall’s somewhat contentious interview with him and composer Cliff Martinez. I’ve spoken to the director a handful of times over the years, and just like his work, he’s occasionally unpredictable, but he’s also always engaged and not without a sense of humor, both about himself and his films.
Below, read our Nicolas Winding Refn interview, which has some mild spoilers for The Neon Demon.
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The initial reactions to Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon were, as expected, polarizing. The director’s surreal horror-comedy isn’t for everybody, although it is more accessible than his previous feature, Only God Forgives. If Refn’s fans and harshest critics can agree on one thing, though, it’s that the director certainly knows how to create a mood, usually one of beauty and horror. Mondo’s print for The Neon Demon strikes that balance as well.
Below, check out Mondo’s The Neon Demon poster.
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I don’t think anyone was expecting a unanimous reaction to Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon. Refn’s horror film just screened at the Cannes Film Festival, and the critical response was mixed, to say the least. Some have claimed the reaction was even more divisive than when Only God Forgives debuted at the festival — which likely pleases Refn, who never attempts to satisfy all audiences. “I can only say if you’ve polarized, you’ve done something right,” he once said. “If everyone likes it, you’ve done something wrong.”
Check out The Neon Demon early buzz below.
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“Beauty isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” Keanu Reeves‘ (John Wick) character claims in The Neon Demon international trailer. We haven’t seen much of Reeves in the past trailers for the film, and, thankfully, the international trailer continues to portray him as more of a background player. Besides plenty of neon lighting and blood, we still don’t fully know what to expect from Nicolas Winding Refn‘s upcoming film. While international trailers tend to have a habit of spoiling surprises or major plot points, this one doesn’t appear to reveal too much from the Drive and Only God Forgive director’s latest project.
Watch The Neon Demon international trailer below.
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Maybe it’s because Nicolas Winding Refn‘s films tend to be light on plot, but whoever has been cutting the trailers for the Drive and Bronson director’s upcoming horror picture, The Neon Demon, has done an excellent job not giving away any of the film’s secrets, instead focusing far more on the picture’s atmosphere. We still don’t even know the exact significance of Keanu Reeves‘ (John Wick) role in The Neon Demon, which is a great rarity in this day and age, but we’ll soon find out more about Reeves’ mystery role. Amazon Studios, in association with Broad Green Pictures, will release Refn’s latest on June 24th.
Learn more about The Neon Demon release date plans below.
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Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2016 by Angie Han
Elle Fanning does “sweet and innocent” really well, as we’ve seen in films like Maleficent and Super 8. But her next film, The Neon Demon, will let her show off a darker edge. Fanning plays a young aspiring model named Jesse, who gets caught up in the thrill and the horror of the LA scene. And Nicolas Winding Refn directed it, so you know you can look forward to drinking in some neon-saturated gorgeousness. Watch the first Neon Demon trailer after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 by Angie Han
Sofia Coppola recently used her land legs to walk away from Universal’s new take on The Little Mermaid, but now she’s diving into another retelling of an classic story. Albeit a very, very different kind of classic story. She’s set to write and direct a remake of The Beguiled, the 1971 Clint Eastwood drama about a soldier taken in by an all-girls school. And as if that weren’t intriguing enough already, the Beguiled remake will star Nicole Kidman as well as reunite Coppola with her previous stars Elle Fanning (Somewhere) and Kirsten Dunst (The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette). Read More »
Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016 by Angie Han
We’re only a few days into spring, but summer blockbuster season will be here before you know it. So let’s take a few minutes to look ahead at some of this year’s most highly anticipated offerings. We’ve got new photos today from X-Men: Apocalypse, Warcraft, Jason Bourne, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, Suicide Squad, Star Trek Beyond, and The Neon Demon. Check ’em all out below. Read More »