The sixteen year-old aspiring model Jesse arrives in Los Angeles expecting to be a successful model. The aspirant photographer Dean takes photos for her portfolio and dates her. Jesse befriends the lesbian makeup artist Ruby and then the envious models Gigi and Sarah in a party. Meanwhile, the agency considers Jesse beautiful with a "thing" that makes her different and she is sent to the professional photographer Jack. Jesse attracts the attention of the industry and experiences a successful beginning of her career. Ruby, Gigi and Sarah, however, will do whatever is necessary to get this "thing" for themselves.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When Jessie kisses herself in the mirror during her modeling scene, the mirror on her right is already stained with lipstick before she touches it with her lips, in the next shot as she goes to kiss the mirror on her left the lipstick stains on the right are suddenly gone. See more »
The theatrical R-rated version and unrated version are different only in the second morgue scene as follows: (A) Female genital nudity is depicted 1 hour 29 minutes and 0 seconds into the film. In the R rated version (which played in US theaters), when Ruby was kissing the corpse (played by a female actress), the bottom of the frame showed the upper half of the vulva (inclusive of somewhat blurred labia, due to the camera focus on the kissing). In the "unrated" version (NOT the theatrical version or the director's narrative - which both emulate the R rated version seen in US theaters), that same moment depicts VERY clear labial exposure (as in medical clarity, yet artistically depicted). (B) Note that the unrated version also shows Ruby's hand brush along the genitalia as it sweeps up to the left breast (R rated version prolongs the cut-away to the Jessie fantasy shot), and also depicts Ruby bouncing on the corpse as she reaches orgasm (while the R rated version shows only the close up of her face). The foley work and soundtrack during the unrated morgue scene are subtly but noticeably different. In short, the unrated cut sounds a lot more "squishy" with ample "smacking" sounds. The uncut version appears to be available through iTunes only, despite being an Amazon production,which you can find here: https://itunes.apple.com/mt/movie/the-neon-demon/id1129719992 (That means if you want to watch it on a TV you'll need an AppleTV to play it). See more »
Performed by Sia
Produced & Engineered by Diplo & Djemba Djemba
Written by Sia
Recorded at Mad Decent Studios
Sia appears courtesy of Monkey Puzzle Records
Diplo appears courtesy of Mad Decent See more »
Word of Warning: The Neon Demon has a very complex story that contains a lot of symbolism. At first this film might be hard to follow and understand. I would recommend watching it and then look up an explanation guide on YouTube. The film gets extremely dark, gory, sexual, and plain out weird towards the end.
With all that said, the story is extremely dark. The film holds a very eerie and surreal tone. Like I said before, the story is very complex, confusing, and difficult to understand. After a second viewing, I understood mostly everything but still looked up an explanation guide to further clarify.
The acting at times can seem inconsistent. Especially in the case Elle Fanning's character Jesse. But the inconsistency is there for a reason. Without spoiling anything, her personality changes when she comes to terms with her true beauty. Keanu Reeves delivers the weakest performance. His character is very dry and has no depth.
The amount of symbolism throughout the film is astounding. The two main symbols to look out for are beauty and the triangle.
The film is slightly overlong. The film itself is about two hours, but could have been about an hour and a half.
The film has a perfect blend of nudity and violence. All of the scenes that involved nudity or violence were there for a reason in order to further the symbolism and depth of the characters.
Pros: Complex and dark story, consistent tone, good acting, perfect blend of nudity and violence, and a great use of symbolism
Cons: Keanu Reeves' dry performance, can be a difficult story to follow, and an overly long runtime
Overall Rating: 7.4/10
P.S. Nicolas Winding Refn's most notable films are Drive (2011) and Bronson (2008) which I would highly recommend. Also, if you really enjoyed The Neon Demon you might also enjoy Only God Forgives (2013) which was also created by Refn.
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