Not for me. So this is about an up and coming model in Los Angeles (Elle Fanning). Being that she appears to be climbing rungs in the celebrity ladder rapidly and undeservedly, this gives her a gaggle of girls who want to see her fail. You can label some blockbusters “style over substance”, and nobody will call you wrong for it. Perhaps the inner critic inside won’t allow for you to enjoy a Fast & Furious movie, I get it. I truly reserve the term “style over substance” for underwritten movies like The Neon Demon because they makes me feel like I’ve completely wasted my time when the end credits start to roll.
It’s the type of movie that has a lesbian sex scene just to have a lesbian sex scene, and you know exactly the kind of movie I am talking about.
Now this is from the critically acclaimed Nicolas Winding Refn, who is a director that I’m not actually all that big a fan of. I couldn’t understand a lot of the dialect in Bronson, I thought Only God Forgives was stylish, but hollow, and I liked Drive (mostly for Oscar Isaac), but I thought it was largely overrated, especially critically. I would rather watch any of those movies over The Neon Demon. It’s not because I’m a male and this is female driven story that is focused on the modeling industry, it’s because it is flat and lifeless. It has this self-indulgent script that I’m sure is a commentary about Hollywood, modeling, fashion, or just California in general, but it was completely lost on me and 99% of the audience that watches this movie who isn’t the director. I know Elle Fanning is a talented actress because I’ve seen her act in other films, but she’s got nothing to work with here, and she is written to be this blank slate of a character.
You ever feel like a movie is intentionally wasting your time?
Yes, I don’t care about this industry, but that is hardly the point. This is about as light as a kale salad on any plot, story and character development, and you’re sure to be fidgeting in your seat before this is a third of the way over. There are maybe 2 – 3 scenes in this that work, but I was bored the entire time. The cinematography is competent and does yield eye-catching visuals, but if it is not apart of a cohesive story, what good does that do you? Just because you slap a loud filter on your camera lens doesn’t make your movie art, and I thought this movie wasted my time like I offended the director in a previous life.
The Neon Demon (2016) *
– Critic for Hire