The Neon Demon (2016) [5/5]

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BEAUTY IS VICIOUS.

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

This film hates me. It hates you. It hates us. It hates everything, and everyone. Okay, not everyone -- but it loathes both superficial, soulless, almost metallic men and women alike. It's bitter, it's cynical, it's angry and it's pessimistic. It portrays these altered women as products of a patriarchal environment, zombified and conditioned by authoritative and systematically powered men to value their exterior, they're individual beauty, over all things spiritual and non-material. And it despises, it downright detests these self-absorbed men even more so, these men shifting the flesh and blood of people into forcibly vacant, money-producing machines. These men, the crafters and creators of said system, the exploits, the hollowing and the dehumanization of the female victims -- of a culture that treats women as objects, as currency, as recyclable, as a shallow shell meant to be placed and perform, to be observed for their genes and even their genetic altercations, their superficiality. It doesn't execrate all human beings -- no, not those who have avoided the manipulation of a materialistic and extraneously dominated reality -- but it certainly does execrate a hateful, male-molded industry, and culture, deserving of all the abhorrence it receives.

-Eli Hayes