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Cinema: The Neon Demon

Refn’s outrageous take on fashion industry is an icy carnival.

The Neon Demon is a wonderfully stylish and stylised movie, an exercise in narcissism and grotesquerie in which director Nicolas Winding Refn takes a morbid pleasure in showing young and glamorous people behaving in a very ugly and self-obsessed fashion. The film offers a similar story to that told in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and David Cronenberg’s Maps To The Stars.

This is a cautionary tale about a young woman from out of town, drawn to the bright lights of Los Angeles. Jesse (Elle Fanning) is sweet natured and seemingly naive but she is on the make. Barely turned 16 but told to pretend she is 19, the young model has “that look”, the “thing” that enraptures photographers and fashion designers. She doesn’t have any other real talents but knows that she can make money out of her looks. Beauty is her currency.

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