Dark side of the fashion industry in ‘The Neon Demon’

The Neon Demon, starring Elle Fanning and Keanu Reaves, examines the dark mystery behind the fashion world. Using his signature allegory and surreal imagery, director Nicolas Winding Refn explores the fashion and modeling industries in this eerie thriller.

Naivety vs. Fashion

According to CBS News, the movie shows the fashion industry preying on young, naive women. Fanning plays the role of Jesse, a wide-eyed young woman hoping to make it in the modeling world. She faces cutthroat competition and odd characters that shift her personality to survive in the dark rivalry within the industry.

True to Life?

Although the film is dramatized, Christina Hendricks stated that the scenes regarding castings and agents are true to her modeling experiences.

Veil of Beauty

From gold glitter motifs to the beautiful scenery, the trailer for The Neon Demon is truly stunning. Refn expressed to CBS News that the aesthetics of the film are based around the “fairytale landscape” of Los Angeles. Interestingly, the colorful scenes contrast with the dark plot. A chilling, mysterious tone lingers throughout the trailer.


Since its release on June 24, The Neon Demon has received mixed reviews. According to The Verge, some movie goers thought the film was too long, while others thought it ended too early. Others adored the soundtrack the acting was eerie and profound. Critics questioned the strength of the movie’s statements about the fashion industry or modern narcissism. We’ll have to watch this beautifully deranged take on the fashion world to really understand Refn’s goals.