The Neon Demon is one of those self-aggrandizing pieces of cinema fluff that seems designed purely to win (or at least compete) during awards season. It’s relatively easy to spot them: they trade in style over substance in both plot and character, and they are darlings of the art-cinema set. Since moving from Europe to the US, Nicolas Winding Refn has become largely a purveyor of the kind of ponderous languid drama that’s generally hailed by film-school analysts as works of brilliance, and derided by critics as bland, featureless pap. No secrets here: I’m in the latter camp. In The Neon Demon, he invites derision from the get go, intentionally or otherwise: not only does the movie throw his name ahead of the credits, when the actual title card appears onscreen it’s also accompanied by his initials in a small vertical strip. I hate using the word pretentious to describe movies, but I’ll certainly use it here.