I was with The Neon Demon. I was loving the color, the music, the crafted coolness of the story. It was dark, sinister, and innocent all at the same time. It was working, and it wasn’t going to lose me. Then The Neon Demon appeared in the movie and it all just fell apart. It went from something that felt like it had a purpose and a reason for being made into a joke. A color mopped student art house film that was made over a 2 day period after he just learned about symbolism and went very literal. It felt like Nicolas Winding Refn got bored and decided to just finish it without regard to making something watchable or good.
There is no doubt that there are some thing that were high points at the start of this movie. The signatures of Refn’s color and music choices drive the movie forward. Elle Fanning, Jenna Malone, Abbey Lee, and Bella Heathcote all play their parts well. They push what is an obvious movie, and a story told many times before in an exciting direction. All these things grab you, and make you want to see what will happen. It all plays out very well for the first half of the movie. Then there is a scene, with what I am calling The Neon Demon. From this point on, it completely loses it’s way. It pushes the boundaries of what needed to be shown for the story to a comical overreach to shock and to write a signature on the movie. It takes the stylish and cool and turns it into a sad joke, and it is all the worse for it. I wanted to be able to support this movie, and say that I liked it, or even tolerated it. Letting the first half shine and making excuses for the second half, but there is nothing there to support. It is not worth the time nor the effort.