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 Director of Photography Natasha Braier read the script, she didn't really like it, and when meeting with Nicolas Winding Refn, she told him honestly what wasn't working for her. He smiled, and replied, "Oh, you got the fake script". See more »
Jesi says when asked that the blond color of her hair is natural. But it can been seen in several scenes that her hair are dyed. See more »
I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't write... no real talent. But I'm pretty, and I can make money off pretty.
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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 »
Incredible directing and cinematography in this abstract art film
It seems that, after the massive success of Drive, Refn is being given the opportunity to make the films he wants to make and take a lot of creative license.
I think this is a good thing, and it's a smart way to go about a career in any creative industry. Achieve mainstream success doing things that are commercially viable, and when you have people's attention and trust, you can do something more abstract and creative and people will actually go see it with an open mind, and quite possibly love it.
Another example of this is a band like Radiohead, they put out "Creep" which is a perfect radio single, and when that got them famous, they went and made albums that would never have been produced or listened to if they had done them straight away.
This is a cool movie. It's not for everyone. The editing, camera work, framing, pace, screenplay, lighting, production design, wardrobe... all the creative elements of this film have a modern, stylistic feel that seems ahead of it's time. It's the type of movie you may want to tell all your friends is your "favorite" even if it's not, just to make yourself look cool (haha.. sad but true)
The plot is very abstract, and contains a lot of elements of surrealism. Refn reminds me of film-makers like David Lynch or Terry Gilliam or even Salvador Dali. I like that he took a risk and really went with his vision to make a film that could never have mainstream appeal. It is a piece of art, and left open to interpretation. The whole thing may be a dream, or an alternate reality, or some combination of these with real life.
The production design and framing and editing made me feel things and think things and imagine things. It seemed to be trying to take me on a journey through space and time while telling an intoxicating story that was an allusion to the real world.
It helps to be in the right state both mentally and physically for a movie like this. It's the type of movie you want to watch in a very dark room, on a very comfortable couch, with a big screen and a great surround sound system. Then you can prepare to get lost in the film and experience it as a whole, instead of just watching it.
I definitely can't watch movies like this everyday, and while it is a great exercise in expanding your mind, being creative, and thinking abstract thoughts, it may seem boring on the wrong day.
A cool thing about movies like this, is the re-watch-ability of them. Most movies are best the first time you see them, and don't offer much for a repeated viewing. This is the type of movie that can be watched many times. The experience will be different each time and you may notice or realize things you didn't see the first time.
It reminds me of David Lynch and his movie "Mulholland Drive." I really love that movie and it is similar in the way that people love it or hate it. With "Mulholland Drive," I watched it many times, and grew to understand it on my own terms, which was a fun journey.
I do hope that Reft doesn't decide to continue making movies that are always this abstract. Often times, I watch movies with a great plot, that are very entertaining films, but wish the director and cinematographer had been more creative with the lighting and camera work. Seeing his style and eye applied to mainstream blockbusters and thrillers would be really cool in my opinion, but I doubt he will ever go too far into directing movies with a typical "Hollywood" script. After the success of "Mulholland Drive," Lynch continued to make exclusively dreamy, abstract movies, and while I respected that, it just didn't seem necessary.
Go check this movie out with an open mind on a night when you are relaxed and feeling good. Maybe watch it with some friends and have a good conversation afterward sharing thoughts and interpretations; I'm sure they will vary radically. You might love it, and you might hate it, but I think most people will respect the artistry of the film and have trouble forgetting it anytime soon.
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