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 Jesse locks her motel room door about halfway through the movie, the deadbolt goes from locked to unlocked and back to locked between shots. See more »
I know what I look like. Women would kill to look like this.
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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 »
A Mulholland Drive/Suspiria inspired film for this decade
The Neon Demon is yet another original effort and polarizing film from Nicolas Winding Refn. It was already both booed and applauded at Cannes, and this reaction is one I expect to play out when it gets its wide release.
The film draws the viewer in with it's dazzling lighting and visuals, which remain throughout, but also with the mysteries it creates. The mystery of the film results in a compelling narrative, but the last half fails to capitalize on some of the themes and ideas it introduces. However, the main 1-2 ideas are well-developed and relevant. I won't spoil those ideas here, though.
Another positive about the film is the soundtrack composed by Cliff Martinez, which is no surprise given the work he and NWR have done together in the past.
While the soundtrack and visuals are certainly memorable, and the major themes are ones which I commend NWR for developing, my main gripe with the film is its over-indulgent nature. NWR has a fixation on violence and gratuity, and in the past I've had few problems with it, but in this film I felt it was taken too far. Things that other filmmakers would have implied with cues, Winding Refn shows us in great detail. Some will praise him for his willingness to show us what we don't want to see, others will condemn him. I just found most of these scenes to be unnecessarily over the top.
Despite my comparing it to films such as Mulholland Drive and Suspiria, it doesn't feel derivative, but instead like a mostly original experience.
On the whole I'd call The Neon Demon a very good film. It's much different from most of the releases so far this year, which alone makes it worth seeing. However, I would not recommend it to the faint of heart, or those with a general disdain for gore in film.
Like most other divisive films, I expect that this one will be a subject of conversation for years to come.
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