Jesse is a 16-year-old girl who moves from Georgia to Los Angeles to become a model. On arriving she meets a photographer called Dean who takes her first photos. She uses these pictures to present herself to a modelling agent, who immediately recognises she has talent.
The modelling business is hard and merciless. As Jesse quickly rises to the top the other models ask her who she's been sleeping with to get so far. They don't believe that it's possible to become a top model without sleeping around. Jesse is naive and hardly believes what's happening to her. She's like a deer caught in the headlights, as her new best friend Ruby tells her. Ruby says that she's a makeup artist, but she doesn't admit that she does makeup for corpses to prepare them for burial.
The lights are bright, the music is loud, and Jesse's virginal innocence prevents her from seeing the dangers of the new world she's entered.
The Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has a psychedelic style which is unique today. He has more similarity with 1970's directors like Robert Fuest. There's a distinct similarity with the colour contrasts of Stanley Kubrick's "Clockwork Orange". The clash between the superficial beauty and the depths of the horror beneath the surface is staggering. After watching "Neon Demon" you have to rub your eyes and ask yourself if you really saw what just happened. This isn't a film for everyone, but it's a film for viewers who like to be shocked.
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