I reached The Neon Demon mostly because of Joe, who assured me it was unmissable. We both share the same admiration for Nicolas Winding Refn in a different way. For me, Refn is most of all Drive. Joe is more attuned to TND and Only God Forgives and Bronson. Whatever the reasons, I think we can understand Refn's take on violence: never gratuitous, always a bulls eye view about the different forms that populate the world.
I was uncertain about explicit here the genre of this movie. I didn't want to spoil it - but I realized that not anybody is so lalaland as me to not read about its genre before watching a move.The thing is, I was unaware it was classified as horror, so I approached it as I would any other Refn's production: with great expectations, even if a bit cautious, expecting nothing but a punch in the stomach and stunning cinematography.
Despite being a bit wary of genres, I know they make a big difference sometimes in our previews regarding a movie. Expectations are a big part of being a viewer business, we shouldn't take it lightly. What I was expecting should happen was shattered at the first 30 minutes of TND, when I realized I was in front of something very particular - gruesomely particular.
Said that, though, I must add that it wouldn't have mattered otherwise - even if horror is perfect for this. It could be just classified as an action, mystery, drama - whatever. Refn's views about the dog literally eat dog fashion world in LA is so good, so real, so scathing that it goes beyond any genre. As I've said, horror is very fit for it - that one is a scary, terrifying, dreadful, perverse world. The choice of genre allowed very graphic scenes and stunning takes - not that Refn holds himself on the matter ever.
I've read on imdb a comment stating how to say that this movie is not for everyone is the understatement of the year. Not for nothing the ratings are low, even if it is a superb movie. Some views stated also how it is boring and slow and things like that. I couldn't take my eyes from it, the pace is tremendously good, the suspense is overwhelming sometimes, as it should be. And it is one of the most linear narratives Refn presented us.
And the cast? Wow, nothing less than that. Elle Fanning and Jena Malone are incredible, specially the last one, who, for me, reached another level in her career with Ruby - and I've written it before knowing the necrophilia scene was so extreme because of her (improvising such a thing, admirable, to say the least). She is usually very intense in everything she does, it is just a matter of getting the right opportunity - one that Refn has provided to her with Excellency. The morgue scene is something from other world, and only Refn, with the right actress, could shoot it in a legitm and relevant and fierce and beautifully scary way. For me, one of the most emblematic scenes in the whole story of movies. Keannu Reeves, even with just a few scenes and lines, is terrifyingly good, we don't have to see his character to know what he is capable of. Every performance in here is a bullet direct to the gut.
The Neon Demon, unbearable for some, outstanding for other, is without a doubt a masterpiece, a well refined engine of a world that should stay only in fiction, but is increasingly dreadful in reality. The many possibilities of violence and abuse are implicit in each character, in each take, throwing us to a much more horrifying world than the one in the screen.
Thank you, dear Joe, for insisting on this. F* wow.
|The Neon Deamon. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Cast: Elle Fanning, Jena |
Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee. Writers: Nicholas Winding Refn et al. USA/
Denmark/France, 2016, Dolby Digital/Datasat/SDDS, Color, 118 min.