The Neon Demon, 2016 – ★★½

Often beautiful, occasionally surprising, and nearly entirely devoid of soul. Reviews have called it Kubrickian, but not in a good way. The Neon Demon moves at a glacial pace and doesn’t conjure much we haven’t seen before story-wise, even if it manages to put a shiny neon synth-filled coat on it. Elle Fanning is good, as is Jenna Malone, but their deliveries are so slow and moody that it’s sometimes difficult to see that. The surprising turn to necrophilia and cannibalism in the final act elicited a laugh, but little more. I’m again annoyed to see the “bury your gays” flipside trope of “jilted queer character murders.” And it’s clear that Refn thought he was being oh-so-perceptive and oh-so-shocking, but just gave us a music video with about enough plot to fill 4.5 minutes.

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