A lot of people (read: most people) were left cold by “Drive” director Nicholas Winding Refn's 2013 head-scratcher “Only God Forgives,” which is understandable: his second Ryan Gosling collaboration was baffling, queasy, bizarre and occasionally infuriating. But it was also bold and compelling in spots, and so aggressively weird that it felt like a daring next step for a rising director who likely had his pick of mainstream studio projects after the success of “Drive.”
For his next film – the arrestingly-titled horror movie “The Neon Demon” – Refn will continue marching to the beat of his own drummer alongside new leading lady Elle Fanning, who herself has made some fairly interesting choices recently with films like Sofia Coppola's “Somewhere,” Sally Potter's “Ginger & Rosa” and the Joe Albany biopic “Low Down” opposite John Hawkes. Here are five reasons I'm intrigued by the Danish auteur's latest project.
1. Refn is made for the horror genre.
“Drive” and “Only God Forgives” had their fair share of horrifying moments, with the latter film being about as close as you can get to horror without actually being classified that way. The hellish visual landscape of the film and a handful of stunningly effective moments (the “see no evil” torture scene was a brutally compelling bit of allegory) left no doubt that Refn's particular set of skills lend themselves incredibly well to the genre.
2. Elle Fanning has proven she can act.
Though she hasn't “broken out” as a major star yet, the younger Fanning has demonstrated some pretty formidable chops in a number of films recently (just try not to shed a tear during her heartwrenching “Super 8” monologue). This along with her willowy, slightly off-kilter good looks make her an intriguing match for Refn.
3. Fanning's character is described as “an aspiring model who is caught in a world of beauty and demise.”
Very Lynchian! Who doesn't want to live in this world, of beauty and demise.
4. The film is a female-driven horror movie that's actually (co-)written by a woman.
Refn scripted the film alongside recent Yale MFA grad Mary Laws, a newcomer to Hollywood whose female perspective is certainly welcome in a genre that in the past has been associated with misogynistic portrayals of women.
5. It's called “The Neon Demon.”
Because I'm a sucker for a good title.
(via The Wrap)