Talking Stone Film

Film Reviews & Headlines

Chris R: So the title of my review of the
film was “The Neon Demon is beautiful, bloody and utterly vacuous.” What did you think Chris? Chris K: (laughs) I don’t know if I can imagine.
I mean I just thought this film was awful. I- I- I- I never thought depravity could seem
so un-compelling. Now um it just it just kind of lay there. Um you know it, it… it it’s one of these
films where everybody acts and talks and looks as though they know they’re in a big, important, cutting edge
film. Chris R: That’s, that’s a really interesting
way to talk about it. I was listening to a review uh an interview with Refn recently and he talked about how
he doesn’t try to tell stories, he tries to create experiences. Chris K: I guess it was an experience. I mean
apparently whenever he was whenever the director was was, was calling for action, he wouldn’t call
for action. He’d call for violence and he’d scream out the word violence. Congratulations. Uh I- I- I- I just found
it, again I just sat there waiting for the thing to be over. Um I guess it is pretty to look at, it is
certainly true to I’m sure Refn’s vision. That doesn’t necessarily make it good or make it watchable. Um.. Chris R: I mean I would call him most definitely
an auteur. Chris K: Mm hm. Chris R: In all the senses that the French
new wave critics in the 1950’s meant and that this is a film that comes out of his brain and it’s what
he wants on the screen. Chris K: Right. Chris R: For better or for worse and I think
he has a following and I personally really liked Drive. Chris K: Ok Chris R: Um but I– Chris K: Most people did. Chris R: –but I, this film did not really
work for me either. So whatever we think about the film, there’s no question that Elle Fanning, the lead actress, is extremely
compelling or so I thought. I also really enjoyed Keanu Reeves. It’s fun seeing him in a villainous part. The last time I saw him so nasty was in Sam
Raimi’s The Gift, back in 2000. And Jenna Malone was also terrific. What did
you think of the cast? Chris K: (laughs) I, I’m glad you thought
that. I, I’m glad you, you, you bought into that, that’s wonderful. Uh but I just.. I mean Keanu Reeves was chewing every bit
of scenery he could find. Um I you know Christina Hendricks is in there for a br- very brief moment. Um.. Chris R: Now I found her performance very
false. Chris K: A- Absolutely! Absolutely. Again
it was you know she knew she was in a film that that was so cool and so compelling and so cutting edge
and ugh. Chris R: Um I think.. Go ahead. Chris K: No. I mean Elle Fanning is, is, is
very compelling, she’s a beautiful girl. Um I don’t know that she, I think she could’ve
been directed much better in this film. Um you know there were times when her character,
I mean I know her character is supposed to be this tabula rasa and, and you know everybody’s
supposed to write things on and she’s kind of learning the ropes and all that. Chris R: She actually was 16 at the time of
the filming and she’s playing a 16 year old girl. Right. Chris K: So you have a movie that is also
about borderline pedophilia. Which is another eh you know uh, uh feather in this cap. Um but um you know she
would go back and forth between seeming wise and seeming very naive and such and that may have been part of the
idea, but it just seemed very abrupt to me. It almost seemed like sequences were shot and rearranged out of
sequence. Chris R: Which is interesting because they
were actually all shot chronologically. Chris K: No. Chris R: That’s another thing I learned from
the interview with Refn is that he shot everything in sequence. So I think that if there’s a problem here
and we would agree with this is with the direction of the film and the vision of the film to
begin with. Chris K: I mean it’s got a, it’s got a, it’s
certainly got its own look to it. Chris R: It certainly does. Yeah. And I do
disagree about Keanu Reeves and maybe it’s because he’s this one kind of highly energetic element in this
film filled with torpor and maybe that’s what I was responding to. Chris K: That’s a good point. I mean he just
he’s one of the few actors in there who seems to be alive. Chris R: Yes! Exactly. Chris K: I’ll grant you that. Chris R: Even though he’s a sleezebucket
motel owner and he does some horrible things, at least he’s doing them with verve and gusto. Chris K: Yeah. Yeah. No it seems like he,
yeah ok he’s there. Chris R: He’s present! Chris K: Very good. Very good. Chris R: Ok we can agree on that. Chris K: We’ll give you that. Chris R: (chuckles) Ok so this is a film that
defines style over substance, par excellence. As much as I did not like it, I have to confess
that some of it has stayed with me over the last you know week or so since I saw it. So perhaps there is something
to Refn’s combination of violence and design. Could not someone make an argument that this
is the perfect way to tell this kind of story, Where the aesthetic and the story are perfectly
suited. Chris K: Well, I. I mean I guess it depends
on whether you buy into the idea that to you know to make it commentary on the vacuousness of a culture. Which is
clearly what he’s trying to do to some extent, you make a vacuous film. Seems like a hollow victory to me. Chris R: Yeah. Well eh w- well said. Well
said. And, and also I mean this is not the first time that this world this this world of fashion or this world of, of
beauty of one dimensional attitudes about beauty has been visited before on the screen so. Chris K: Well see it occurred to me as I-
I was walking out of the movie, I remembered I turned to my wife and I said, just what we needed a re-imagining
of The Hunger, ya know.

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