The Neon Demon [2016] ★★½

13415461_1116144808408682_136432642408806104_oNicholas Winding Refn makes movies like no other filmmaker. Sometimes that’s admirable (see “Bronson” and the mind-blowing “Drive” starring Ryan Gosling). Other times it’s a beautiful, incoherent mess (see “Only God Forgives”, also starring Ryan Gosling”). “The Neon Demon” falls somewhere in between. It’s stylish and visually mesmerizing from start to finish. It also features Elle Fanning like you’ve never seen her before, playing an aspiring model who arrives to LA, only to realize that it’s a nasty business. Looking for violence? You’ll find plenty here. Thing is, Refn’s movies thrive on that, and that’s one of the main reasons why he pisses critics and audiences off. In “Neon Demon”, I wasn’t really bothered by it, up until the third act where the movie loses most of its toxic charm. It’s still a well respected attempt at showing the horrors of modern day beauty business and its disastrous consequences. Will it please an audience looking for straightforward storytelling? Probably not. But always hang on for a talent like Refn. He’s undoubtedly a visionary director that leaves you eager to see what he’s up to next.

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