Movie Review: Broad Green Pictures' The Neon Demon

The Neon Demon
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Writers: Nicolas Winding Refn (story by), Nicolas Winding Refn
Starring: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves 
MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language
Official Socials: Site | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramIMDb
In theaters June 24th
Hashtag: #TheNeonDemon
When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

I have to say that when I was asked to review this movie, I had no idea what it was about. I then checked the trailer and thought, “Hm, that looks interesting.” Boy, was that an understatement! This movie is not something I would typically see, but I am glad that I did. Let me explain to you why:

First thing I will mention about this movie is the cinematography. It was gorgeous: incredibly artistic and beautiful. I’ve never seen a director have shots like these in any other movie. I, at times, was so impressed and entertained by the beauty of the filming that I wasn’t really noticing what was actually happening in the scene. Sometimes the way he would flawlessly merge 2 scenes that had nothing to do with each other together was mesmerizing. The colors, the lighting, the way it was filmed. Yes, I am in love with this film!

Next up is the acting. Elle Fanning is not just looks (because she really is gorgeous), she has real acting talent, just like her sister. But let’s also talk about Jena Malone. This girl, every time I see her, I think “Johanna from The Hunger Games”, but after this movie I no longer do. She was awesome in this movie…just a little crazy, like Johanna. Then we have Abbey Lee (who plays Sarah) and Bella Heathcote (Gigi), who were awesome at playing the mean girls. They did a good job of you kind of feeling for them more than you did for Regina George, and understand why they sometimes feel like they do. I don’t want to say too much (I refuse to write a review with spoilers!), but know that these 3 girls are more than you think. Then there’s Keanu Reeves! I’ve missed him! He was awesome in this movie…it was just a little weird for me seeing him be such a creep and an a-hole since I know he’s a VERY sweet and nice guy in real life. He’s such a good actor that he makes you hate his character, as you should –and that’s all I will say about his character.

Now on to the plot. The plot, in my opinion, was a good one. I’ve always had a fascination with the entertainment business and when I was younger wondered how it’d be like to be a model. But, after researching some more about how they demand you to basically starve (and I refuse to damage my body for anything or anyone in that way) and that I wasn’t tall enough (when I was younger you still HAD to be tall and at 5’2”, I’m considered minute. Now they have models of different heights, I think), I gave up on that idea. Then I watched this movie and walked out thinking to myself, “Yep, and that’s why you never pursued that career.” This movie shows us the very horribly sad reality of the modeling business, how ruthless the competition is (literally), how degrading and insulting the “experts” treat the models, and how stressful it is. Yes, it’s glamorous and luxurious, but at what cost? The best part about the plot, however, is the twists and turns of the movie, the story, and the characters. At the end of the movie I was in shock and kept thinking “so messed up, so messed up!” If you like movies that surprise you and that have unexpected endings, then this movie is for you!

Last, but not least, the lessons to learn from this movie. I love it when movies have lessons to teach us because they are usually good ones. From this movie I observed 3 very important lessons: be careful with whom you trust, learn to appreciate those that got your back more, and being yourself and honest ALWAYS is the way to go.

When you meet someone new, some people are very nice and friendly and helpful, while others take a while to warm up. The key isn’t that when someone behaves one way always means this or that. No, the key is to be very observant, listen to your gut for it is always right (when you see the movie you will understand why I say this).

The second lesson from this movie is learn to appreciate those that got your back. See, Jesse met a guy (Dean) who agreed to take pics of her for her portfolio so she can apply to become a model. At the beginning, he gave the impression of being a little shady, but turned out he was actually incredibly sweet and really cared for her. He was there for her when she most needed it. But, as often happens in youth (and even some immature adults) when you get too cocky, you start thinking you’re better than that person or that you no longer need them because you’ve outgrown them. Turns out that the ones who had your back do NOT deserve your cold shoulder because the day will come that you will need them again and they won’t be there anymore thanks to your selfish attitude. So think about that!

Thirdly, being yourself and being honest are always the best option. Jesse, in her youth and innocence, is always herself and doesn’t like to lie. Other models boast about how many plastic surgeries they’ve had done, and who they’ve had to f---k to get where they are. Jesse does NONE of these things, but is always honest and respectful, yet she gets very far (farther than some of the ones who’ve been in the business longer) very quickly due to this. Yes, her beauty plays a huge factor, but when they ask her questions and she answers honestly and you can see her sincerity, that’s what they liked. So always, always, be yourself and always be honest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my style of reviewing movies and that you go see it. If you do, please leave me a comment below letting me know what you thought.

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