WEIRDLAND: "The Neon Demon" Blu-Ray: Beauty Always Wins

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"The Neon Demon" Blu-Ray: Beauty Always Wins

Nicholas Winding Refn: "Jesse (Elle Fanning) is partly a ghost that has gone through this thousands of times. Partly, she’s innocence that’s devoured by the industry. She may have initiated it, or she may not have — again, both sides of the coin. But when she’s devoured, three things happen: Jena Malone’s character, who initiates this whole ceremony of beauty, menstruates again, has something flowing through her. Bella Heathcote, who wants to manufacture her own beauty, dies — because that’s the one thing that you can’t do. And Abbey Lee, the supermodel, who felt like a ghost, but finds everything within her again, by eating the thing that Jesse is." Source:

Abbey Lee and Bella Heathcote are great as Jesse's chief rivals. They each have an otherworldly beauty to them but as the movie makes so painfully clear, it is, in the world of The Neon Demon at least, an artificial beauty. Jesse has what everyone wants, a ‘deer in the headlights' look, a ‘girl next door' look and, as she learns fairly quickly… "Women would kill to look like this."

Abbey Lee: The thing is, the visual that you get of the girl walking through the desert when the credits roll up, a lot of people think that's Jesse, but it's actually Sarah. In my mind, there's a transcendence that happens. I think the second Sarah eats the eyeball and transcends into like, a golden goddess walking through the desert, in my mind it's Nick saying that beauty does win — that beauty always wins.

The Neon Demon Blu-Ray Extras: The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary with director Nicolas Winding Refn who is joined by actress Elle Fanning. This is a pretty solid track with Refn talking about some of what inspired him to make this movie, a few ideas that were originally included that were then discarded as the production evolved, casting the film, some of the stand out visuals employed, the score and more. Fanning is able to offer some welcome insight into her character, what it was like working with Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and some of the other cast members. There are also two short featurettes included on the disc, the first of which is the five minute Behind The Soundtrack Of The Neon Demon wherein Refn and composer Cliff Martinez talk about the use of music in the film and how and why the score is used in the feature the way it is. 

Nicolas Winding Refn: "I shot a Gucci ad with Blake Lively, who is an extremely beautiful woman. A beautiful creature. I was very aware of the fact of my own obsession with beauty and my own obsession with wanting to be a beautiful woman. So in a way, “Neon Demon” was my ability to live out that fantasy, and of course touching on my own thoughts regarding the obsession with beauty that we have in our world. The idea that obsession with beauty continues to rise and longevity continues to shrink and it’s becoming younger and younger so it will eventually feed on itself. I wanted to make a horror film about beauty. “Neon Demon” for me was like a ritualistic witchcraft analysis of beauty. It’s the creation of the demonic."

Jesse Eisenberg and Blake Lively in "Café Society" (2016) directed by Woody Allen.

Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star in War Dogs, but they weren’t the first actors cast. The script — which Phillips, Stephen Chin, and Jason Smilovic worked on — was written with The Wolf of Wall Street actor in mind, so after Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf fell off the project, it all ended up working out, according to Phillips: "Eisenberg and LaBeouf were attached for a moment, and then we ended up pushing the movie an entire year and both guys became unavailable. When I first went to Jonah, before we pushed the movie, Jonah actually turned it down. I then cast it with Eisenberg and LaBeouf, then we pushed the movie a year for production reasons and that’s when they became unavailable." Two months before shooting, Miles Teller wasn’t a sure thing for the role of David Packouz, either. He had a scheduling conflict of some sort. As for Eisenberg and LaBeouf, they’d be easy to imagine in War Dogs. Obviously, they’d bring something different to the roles — they’re not all that similar to Teller and Hill— but in the end, Phillips got the actors he wanted. Source:

Haley Bennett plays Megan, the seemingly perfect wife at the heart of The Girl on the Train. Also out this fall is Warren Beatty’s long-awaited Rules Don’t Apply, about the adventures of Howard Hughes during the golden age of Hollywood. Bennett, showing her range, plays Mamie—“You’ll get to hear me sing.” 

We’ll also see her opposite Miles Teller in Thank You for Your Service (based on David Finkel’s book about American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan), and she’s finished filming for Terrence Malick’s ode to the Austin music scene Weightless, in which she shares screen time with Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender. This impressive run reminds Bennett that, after almost a decade working, there is one particular director always at the top of her wish list: “I don’t know that I’ll ever get to make my ideal film, because Frank Capra is dead.” Nonetheless, the wish persists. “Eventually, I would like to remake one of his films—but that might be dangerous.”

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