Let me start this off by giving myself a giant out. I am a huge fan of NWR. I truly think he’s a visionary whose filmography will be looked upon in the future in a far better light than it is today.
That being said, The Neon Demon was an almost transformative experience for me. What NWR and his impossibly talented cinematographer, Natasha Braier, are able to put on screen is unmatched in modern cinema. Scenes are bathed in impossible neon glows, giving an otherworldly quality to an already dream-like Los Angeles. Being in a theater, engulfed by mesmerizing imagery and transfixed by Cliff Martinez’s hypnotic score, I was paralyzed.
The story is shallow, no doubt, but it’s a brutal look into an imagined dark side of an industry perceived to be shallow to its core. The very concept of beauty, and how culture uses and abuses it, is fascinatingly used as a backdrop for the brutal violence that unfolds throughout the film. The Neon Demon is a film about extremes. The peak of beauty, with some of the most disgusting and brutal imagery I’ve ever seen put on film.