Nicholas Winding Refn has carved out a unique career niche for himself with eccentric, often brutally-violent and sexually-explicit fare that straddles the line between lurid exploitation and glossy arthouse fare. Best known for the slow-burn deconstructionist drama/thriller Drive (featuring Ryan Gosling as a stoic, unbalanced car expert/beatdown-specialist), he followed it up with the ultra-divisive Thailand-set crime thriller Only God Forgives (also starring Gosling).
Refn’s latest feature, The Neon Demon, was recently selected as a competition entry at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. An official trailer has been released for the film too, and you can watch it above.
Neon Demon‘s plot has been partly kept under wraps, but it’s known to star Elle Fanning as a young woman who comes to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling. A previously-released plot synopsis described Fanning’s character, Jesse, as having her “youth and vitality” in danger of being “devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.” However, the ominously-scored trailer for the film would seem to imply that Jesse poses a danger of her own, too.
True to Refn’s signature style, the trailer doesn’t make it easy to discern what’s meant to be the story of the film, with rapid cuts and a lurid, oversaturated color scheme punctuating the kind of nightmarish take on Los Angeles night life suggested by the title. Comparisons to Black Swan are likely to be inevitable, starting with brief glimpses of Fanning being leered over by a photographer and engaged in a same-sex tryst with one of her fellow models, but also owing to glimpses of something more fantastical: In one shot, a humanoid figure morphs out from a wall like Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, while another depicts a mountain lion stalking around a torn-up hotel room.
The film also stars Jenna Malone, Abbey Lee and Bella Heathcote as fellow models, Karl Glusman as a photographer, Christina Hendricks (previously in Drive) as an agent, Alessandro Nivola as a fashion designer, Charles Baker and Jamie Clayton. Curiously unseen in the trailer is Keanu Reeves, who is cast in a supposedly important role in the feature, but whose character does not appear to be part of any of the scenes depicted here.
Asked about his inspiration to make this particular film amid his myriad other in-development projects (Refn had at one point expressed interest in directing Wonder Woman, with Hendrix named as his choice to star), the Danish-born filmmaker explained that he was partially drawn by the chance to re-experience Los Angeles:
“One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty. After making ‘Drive’ and falling madly in love with the electricity of Los Angeles, I knew I had to return to tell the story of ‘The Neon Demon.’”
Although no official release date has bee announced, The Neon Demon will be released through Amazon Studios. It will also compete for the coveted Palm d’Or prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Source: Film Trailer Zone
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