Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone
Release Date: September 27, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means necessary to get what she has.
‘The Neon Demon’ joins the beautiful young Jesse (Fanning) at a photo shoot, shortly after her arrival in Los Angeles. Largely unfamiliar with the town and its many eccentric inhabitants, as she continues to seek jobs at every opportunity and try to make her way in this challenging business, she soon discovers the real darkness seemingly littering this world and those who occupy it. Refusing to give up on her quest, she begins fighting tooth and nail in order to claim whatever work she can and never hesitating to step over whomever she may need in order to do so. Yet in this unsettling town of beautiful and phony people, it never hurts to make a few friends prior to making too many enemies.
Directed by the immensely talented Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) from a script he also co-wrote with Mary Laws and Polly Stenham who are both relative newcomers, and based upon a story by Refn, he does an outstanding job at the helm of ‘The Neon Demon’ capturing the tone and insanely beautiful imagery with near perfection in almost every shot. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the talented individuals who comprise the cast including Elle Fanning (Super 8), Karl Glusman (Love), Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Bella Heathcote (Pride + Prejudice + Zombies), Abbey Lee (Gods of Egypt), Desmond Harrington (TV’s Dexter), Christina Hendricks (Drive), Keanu Reeves (John Wick), and more, nearly all of whom deliver notable performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Neon Demon’ is a peculiar, unsettling and immensely beautiful film that is unlike anything else you’ve experienced this year. Constantly brimming with indelible imagery that should stick with you long after the credits roll, the film unfolds like a flower in a way: slowly opening to its full form and subsequently withering down to a calm and wonderfully fitting conclusion, and the overall experience is quite breathtaking throughout, no matter how trivial or crucial the scene may be, it always delivers the desired effect and looks outright gorgeous while doing so; to quote a line from the film that I feel also quite adequately describes the film “Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” It’s become quite clear that Nicolas Winding Refn intends to make precisely the type of film he wants, and with his unique vision and style each effort of his continues to impress, as do his impeccable casting choices which never disappoint in the slightest. Not only is ‘The Neon Demon’ a true masterpiece in many ways, it serves as a perfect follow up to his strangely endearing and similarly gorgeous ‘Only God Forgives’ and any fan of his work definitely won’t want to miss out on this phenomenal and chilling piece of filmmaking.
Overall, ‘The Neon Demon’ is a mesmerizing, beautiful and at times unsettling and eerie masterpiece that exudes gorgeous imagery in nearly every shot and is guided along with tremendous care by talented filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, and further complimented by the powerhouse cast including a riveting performance by Elle Fanning and the majority of the supporting cast. Any fan of Refn’s films, particularly his previous effort ‘Only God Forgives’ will want to make sure and check out ‘The Neon Demon’ as soon as you have the opportunity to do so, as will anyone who appreciates a gorgeous, dark and beautifully made film that is as refreshingly opposite of the norm as possible.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Neon Demon’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks gorgeous and delivers a sharp and detailed image from start to finish that perfectly portrays the rich, vibrant colors and other indelible imagery always on prominent display witin the film, and suffering no notable faults throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit sequences and never causes anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily thrill fans of Refn’s work and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and occasionally fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. Utilizing all five available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the film’s tremendous score and to contribute some perfectly fitting auditory effects such as crowd chatter and additional surround activity when fitting, and never resulting in any dialogue which might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that serves as a perfect complement to the film and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Neon Demon’ includes a couple notable extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Nicolas Winding Refn and Actress Elle Fanning’, in addition to a couple of brief behind the scenes Featurettes; ‘Behind the Soundtrack of The Neon Demon’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), and ‘About The Neon Demon’ (running approximately 1 minute).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘The Neon Demon’ is Now Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD from Broad Green Pictures.
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