The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

Photo: Courtesy
Photo: Courtesy

By Megan Bianco

The 2011 action-thriller Drive was the best and worst thing to ever happen to Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. Considered by many film fanatics to be a modern classic and a big inspiration on indie thrillers in the last few years, Drive should have improved Refn’s direction and future films. But instead, the artsy, grotesque director has used most of his success and newfound creative control to be primarily indulgent and pretentious. Take most recently his new film The Neon Demon.

Like Drive, Neon Demon is set in the seedy, underbelly of Los Angeles, but this time with models and the fashion community. Sixteen-year-old Jessie (Elle Fanning) has just arrived in town with some test headshots for agency applications. While she has completely captured the attention of photographer Jack (Desmond Harrington), make-up artist Ruby (Jena Malone), agency head Roberta (Christina Hendricks) and a nameless fashion designer (Alessandro Nivola), fellow models Sarah (Abbey Lee) and Gigi (Bella Heathcote) feel instant competition.

Keanu Reeves also appears as the sleazy owner of the motel where Jessie is staying. There are a lot of quality things going on in NWR’s The Neon Demon—Cliff Martinez’s tight score, the flashy cinematography, the pretty ladies and the performances from Lee and Heathcote. But everything after the initial build-up in the first half is all blown apart by the narrative mess with the film’s plot twist. There’s nothing but shock value that comes off as cheap more than clever. It’s not attracting audiences to the theaters, and they’re not missing much.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>