The Neon Demon (2016)

Starring: Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, Karl Glusman

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn

Rating: 1 2

Another Saturday afternoon, another vicious swipe at the fashion industry, this time courtesy of art house enfant terrible Nicolas Winding Refn.

Despite the hypnotically boring awfulness of Only God Forgives, I was looking forward to this movie, expecting super-slick styling and glacially gorgeous glamour, laced with blood-soaked ultraviolence and set to a pounding, achingly cool soundtrack of '80s electronica. All of which I got – but stitched together with a whacking seam of tedium and misogyny.

Elle Fanning as Jessie in Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon

Jessie (Elle Fanning) is a sweet 16-year-old orphan who comes to LA to make it as a model. She's picked up by an agency and photographed and then (yadda yadda fell asleep it was reeeeally slooow) then basically everyone in her life turns on her (including – for that full '80s feel – Keanu Reeves), either because they're spurned and/or jealous or (more likely) because she's really bland and annoying.

'Beauty is not everything, it's the only thing,' opines a pompous designer from somewhere inside his own arse. But beauty is not enough to save a baggy plot that heroically manages to be both horrifically taboo-breaking and teeth-grindingly boring, a series of vacuous women being vile to each other strung together with the acute psychological insight of a Carry On film.

Jena Malone as Ruby and Elle Fanning as Jessie in The Neon Demon

Fair enough, the movie's obsession with mirrors and water, narcissism and masturbation, its voyeuristic display of objectified body parts, are no doubt meant to reflect the self-absorbed superficiality of the fashion world, a world that, in this case, is literally dog eat dog... or bitch eat bitch.

A mirror yes, but a dark, distorting one. And one I got very tired of gazing into. Oh lordy, I thought it would never end.

If a sh*t version of Suspiria with models, necrophilia and no witches sounds like your brew then by all means be my guest. But while I may have forgiven Refn for Only God Forgives, only God can forgive The Neon Demon...

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