måndag 31 oktober 2016

The Neon Demon

Film makers who dare to tell different stories, and try different genres, have always made me interested to see their work. There are plenty of directors out there who have proved themselves to dare cross borders, using odd styles, and a different way to tell a story. One film that comes to my mind straight away, is the australian film Memento. A unique psychological thriller, directed by Christoper Nolan. When this film was released, back in the year 2000, it was one of the most beloved films that year. The way director Christoper Nolan made this film, starting to tell the story backwards, instead of the usual way of telling a story, felt  and interesting. Another great example is a film called Oldboy, a brilliant thriller drama from South Korea, by director Chan-wook Park. What might seem to be an ordinary kidnapping film, soon turn into something completely different. What made Oldboy so amazing, a part from a strong cast and a solid story, was the uniqe style that the film managed to bring to the cinema screen. The lead actor Min-sik Choi did one of his best performances in his career, as the revenge filled Dae-su Oh. If you have not seen Oldboy yet ( not the american remake ), you have to buy it on dvd or blu ray. This is one of those films that needs to be in every homes film collections. Odd films, that dare to tell original stories, is something i feel very passionate about. That´s why i always try and check out titles that seems to be different, compared to the usual Hollywood productions. Most directors that have made classics, started out doing smaller films, before they could get their chance to work in bigger projects. Just take a look at danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. His directorial debut film Pusher, released in 1996, was a knockout like nothing we have seen before. A danish hard hitting drama about criminals, with a very raw view of the danish crime gang situation. I remember that people all over Scandinavia loved this film, because it may not have been original, but very emotional. He directed all 3 films of The Pusher trilogy, and for each film you felt that he was ready to move on with other projects. After making his name heard, at film festivals and from critics, he moved on to make bigger films in Hollywood. This turned out to be a smart move, because he proved himself. When i read earlier this year, that Nicolas was going to release a film, like nothing he have ever done before, i got really excited. Would we finally have a original film, that please us who enjoy solid acting and a solid story ? With a well respected director, and a cast filled with professional actors, is The Neon Demon a film that should be seen, or should you skip it as much as possible ?

16 year old aspiring model Jesse ( Elle Fanning ) have moved from a small town in Georgia, to Los Angeles, to become a professional model. Her first photo shoot is done by Dean ( Karl Glusman ). Jesse meet make up artist Ruby ( Jena Alone ), who introduce her to fellow older models Sarah ( Abbey Lee ) and Gigi ( Bella Heathcote ). She can tell that these models have a problem with a young face, but she tries to stay strong. One day, Jesse finally get signed by a major model agency, runned by Roberta Hoffman ( Christina Hendricks ). She tells Jesse to pretend that she is 19, just to guarantee that they don´t run into legal issues. Everything seems to be going well, but Jesse is about to enter a world, where fashion is just a glimpse of the real truth.

If you don´t like odd films, that uses different combinations of styles and genres, then i suggest you stop reading right here. The Neon Demon is a mix of styles, made with brightful colors and a different image than most films. I can´t say i have seen something similar to The Neon Demon, because this is a very special film. Imagine if Vincent Gallo decided to make a film about models, and mixed in David Lynch influenses, with odd characters, and a bizarre plot ? Well, this is pretty much what The Neon Demon is, a film that can´t really be explained that much, you just have to see it yourself to see what i mean. There are many films that brings up the subject around the fashion world, but i don´t think we have ever seen it be done this way before. I could be wrong, i just can´t think of anything similar. So is this any good at all ? I will say that i like the cinematography by Natasha Braier. The colors and the settings match great together, with the model . I also like some of the disturbing ideas brought in here, unexpected turns. Director Nicolas Winding Refn started his movie career in Denmark, with the Pusher films. Then he was really praised by his film Drive, with Ryan Gosling in 2011. And there is a good reason for that, Drive was one of the better films of 2011. Nicolas tried making a very different film with Only God Forgives, working together with Ryan Gosling again. The film was not what we expected. The Neon Demon shows that Nicolas tries to make another film, that tries to go a completely different path than his previous films. I like the fact that he dares to move out of a comfort zone, and do what he feels like. This is not a guarantee though that he have managed to make a solid film all the way. The biggest problems for me with The Neon Demon, is mainly that the acting is not very good. Just a few characters feel interesting, while others just show up, but without any purpose really. So it all lands on the main character, Jesse, played by Elle Fanning. She is one of the reasons why i am interested in this film. Her character is mysterious, innocent, and for some reason you feel sorry for her, because she seems lost in the fashion world. She may not do one of her better performances in her career, but she is the reason why you watch this film. Keanu Reeves is not very good, unfortunately. The Neon Demon is a film that wont be appreciated by people who hate art films, but perhaps if you are a fan by David Lynch. With a fascinating idea, sewed together into a landscape of insanity, The Neon Demon is a film you should see just to dare try something different. I think i might paint right now, something in neon lights, or with demons included, we will have to see if Ulf Brunnberg approve this.

Rating: DDD

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