Elle Fanning is a naive seeming aspiring model moving to Los Angeles to make it. When she arrives everyone who surrounds her tries to feed from her youth and beauty. Their need for what she has will take all of them to some very dark places.
I’d like to start off by saying that The Neon Demon is the best looking movie I have ever seen. And this isn’t just down to a beautiful colour palette (though that does have a key role) but each shot is a piece of art. For me this became most obvious during what could have been a simple shot reverse shot conversation, but was transformed into a beautiful sequence involving mirrors.
But all of these looks would count for nothing if you didn’t centrally relate to the story. And this is why the film centres on a fairly simple coming of age/moving away from home tale. It’s a set up you’ve seen before, but you’ve never seen it like this. It plays out like an incredibly grim tale of magical realism that on occasion feels like a horror movie. In fact in many aspects it reminded me of Argento’s masterpiece Suspira.
And all of this would fall down if Elle Fanning didn’t work in the central role. But you completely buy her in every way. Her transformation from wide eyed nativity to being fully in control is stunning to watch. And she is supported by a host of incredibly strong secondary characters. Jena Malone and Abbey Lee particularly stand out.
You really must check out The Neon Demon if you get the chance. It’s a film that will ask you to just go with it, and if you resist this you may not like it at all. But I went with it and I loved it.