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The Neon Demon (2016)

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An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.

Writers:

Nicolas Winding Refn (story by), Nicolas Winding Refn (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
720 ( 134)
18 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Elle Fanning ... Jesse
Karl Glusman ... Dean
Jena Malone ... Ruby
Bella Heathcote ... Gigi
Abbey Lee ... Sarah
Desmond Harrington ... Jack
Christina Hendricks ... Roberta Hoffmann
Keanu Reeves ... Hank
Charles Baker ... Mikey
Jamie Clayton ... Casting Director
Stacey Danger ... Casting Assistant
Rebecca Dayan ... Dresser
Helen Wilson Helen Wilson ... Seamstress
Houda Shretah Houda Shretah ... Roberto Sarno's Assistant
Taylor Marie Hill ... Flirty Model #1 (as Taylor Hill)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beauty isn't everything. It's the only thing. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Denmark | France | USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Neon Demon See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$589,014, 26 June 2016, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$1,333,124, 4 August 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,333,124, 4 August 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, a crew member was going to break the mirror in the bathroom. However, when he hit the mirror with a heavy vase, nothing happened. Nicolas Winding Refn panicked. So in a last minute effort, he asked Abbey Lee to throw a trashcan into the mirror in one shot, hoping for the best. On the first take, the mirror broke in a hundred pieces. This is the shot that was used in the film. See more »

Goofs

When the mountain lion in Jesi's room roars the sound used is the roar of an African Lion (or possibly a tiger) not that of a California Mountain Lion. See more »

Quotes

Jesse: You know what my mother used to call me? Dangerous. "You're a dangerous girl". She was right. I am dangerous.
See more »

Connections

References Bronson (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Mine
Performed by Sweet Tempest
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A neon lit parable of big city poison.
25 May 2016 | by paddybassSee all my reviews

Nicolas Winding-Refn is a director who defies all analysis. Most considered him a surefire "Commercial Success" following on from his exceptional adaptation, Drive back in 2011. However, against all odds Winding-Refn went darker, more subversive and all together more polarising with his 2013 release Only God Forgives.

The Neon Demon is sure to be equally divisive. I was lucky enough to attend the red carpet premiere of the film in Cannes and was personally blown away by it's unique style & vision. It's long slider shots demand attention and draw attention to every minute detail on offer. It's use of mirrors encourages the viewer to look beyond the "real" world and examine what lies on the other side.

Obviously, it goes without saying that this film looks amazing. If nothing else, most of Winding-Refn's supporters or critiques will admit that his films aesthetics are always incredible. However, despite the muted dialogues and slow pacing, the film gripped me for its full 110 minute run time. This was because, although the movie is a "horror", it's so much more. It's an examination of the human obsession with beauty.

Elle Fanning does a remarkable turn as Jesse - a young runaway, trying to make it big in Los Angeles. Her beauty is so powerful that things begin to work to her favour almost immediately on her arrival. More over than that, her beauty seems to encapsulate and draw in those around her, while repelling her peers who scathe her. Her natural beauty is something that all the plastic surgery in LA can't generate.

Jena Malone steals the film as Ruby - a make up artist who befriends Jesse as soon as she arrives in the town. She also introduces Jesse to the vacuous and vindictive pair of models played by Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee. If you haven't guessed already this is a film with a real focus on females. Although there are a handful of male characters (Dexters Desmon Harrington does an incredible turn as a high power fashion photographer), the focus here is all feminine. Even down to the decision to bring in a female DOP to shoot the film.

There are too many twists and turns to get into here, but all I can say is that this could be Winding-Refn's most powerful movie to date. It's an analysis on the human condition and our obsession with natural beauty. It claws and scratches at our preconceptions and breaks us down, revealing the gooey centre; what makes us tick. Stellar performances, amazing visuals, a banging score and a unique storyline will cement this as a cult classic - of this I am sure.

I cannot wait for the theatrical release if only to have more time to soak in the films dreamy visuals, take in more of the films subtexts and once again be blown away by the force of nature that is NWR.


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