If you’re at all familiar with Nicolas Winding Refn, you’ve surely realized by now that the “Drive” director tends to provoke, shall we say, strong reactions. “I’m a pornographer and I make films about what excites me” is how the Danish auteur described his working methods during a festival screening of his previous film, “Only God Forgives;” if initial responses to “The Neon Demon” are to believed, Refn has once again set the Cannes Film Festival aflutter. Indiewire’s own Eric Kohn gives it a B-, saying that the film is “not the deepest form of exploitation cinema, but it’s reaching for something.”
Kino-Zeit’s Beatrice Behn doesn’t hold back, calling Refn’s latest an “absurd jerk-off lolita fantasy in a slow-motion sparkly neon dress with a side order of 90s music video aesthetics,” while Screen Daily’s Tim Grierson is a bit more reserved in his description: “Horror-satire about beauty as power source, precious gem, root of all evil. Best not to take too seriously.” In an early review (of which more to come), however, Little White Lies gave the film five stars. Here are some other standout reactions:
The Neon Demon got exactly the reception I’m sure Refn was hoping for. Audience members literally shouting abuse at the screen #Cannes2016
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 19, 2016
THE NEON DEMON is MULHOLLAND DRIVE meets “Freedom 90” meets epilepsy #Cannes2016
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) May 19, 2016
According to guy next to me, the Neon Demon heckler yelled TRASH! in Spanish. #Cannes2016
— Nigel M. Smith (@nigelmfs) May 19, 2016
— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) May 19, 2016
THE NEON DEMON: Resounding boos for Refn’s getting-eaten-by-LA fantasia, which I dug. Not convinced much there beyond pretty surfaces tho.
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) May 19, 2016
Apparently there’s also necrophilia, in case you were worried that Refn had toned down his sensibility.
For more, watch the trailer:
Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Festivals newsletter here.