Everyone speaks very slowly in The Neon Demon, a pretty but mostly hollow horror movie. They speak so slowly it’s as if director Nicolas Winding Refn instructed each actress to count to three Mississippi before each sentence. Elle Fanning stars as a sixteen-year old model so naturally beautiful that all the other bionically carved models in Los Angeles get totally jealous. Fanning’s character isn’t particularly developed, so the movie’s main thesis seems to be that the fashion industry is vapid and predatory – not exactly breaking news. It really wants to be Black Swan, down to the mirrors and flower petals and lesbian overtones, but the film would have worked better if it went for satire. Still, it’s always nice to see Jena Malone, here lurking around as a mysterious makeup artist.
It’s been nearly a decade since actress Malone (Donnie Darko, Saved!) embarked on a brief but fascinating recording career, first under the name Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains and later as the inventor of an instrument called The Shoe. A minor blip from the Myspace era, the project came to mind while I was watching The Neon Demon, which of course features both Jena Malone and a great many bloodstains.
The Neon Demon is playing at the Showcase Providence, Warwick, North Attleboro, and Cinemaworld Lincoln