Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Notable Cast: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Desmond Harrington, Alessandro Nivola, Charles Baker, Jamie Clayton
“I don’t want to be them. They want to be me.”
Nicolas Winding Refn has always been one of my favorite modern directors. His style and blend of surrealistic and artful symbolism with gritty grindhouse concepts makes him one of the more unique visionaries currently working. However, his last film Only God Forgives left a substantial sour taste with me. His balance between the two seemed to flounder as he went extreme in both directions and produced a film that felt like the two worlds he was so spectacular at balancing were going to war. I know plenty of people that loved the movie for that very reason, but it didn’t sit as well for me. Going into his latest film, The Neon Demon, it was hard to necessarily wipe that sour aftertaste away from Only God Forgives so I kept my hype in check going into the film. Thankfully, The Neon Demon seems to be a return to form for the divisive director and it finds the balance between arthouse and grindhouse in some stunningly effective ways. It may not be his best film to date, but it certainly showcases why he is loved by cult cinema fans.