Film Review: ‘Blazing Neon’ (2022) – MANIFF 2023

• LIKE on Facebook   • FOLLOW on Twitter   • FOLLOW on Instagram

• SUBSCRIBE on YouTube   • BUY ME A COFFEE on Ko-Fi

Stars: Jérémie Laheurte, Tracy Gotoas, Bosh
Director: FGKO
Distributor: The Jokers

“we’re tearing ourselves apart!”

Two tormented characters, either side of human trafficking, find their paths merge into one in FGKO’s gritty adaptation of Rémy Lasource’s Du crepitement sous les neons.

Blazing Neon opens with the trafficking of Nigerian women. It’s at night; clothes are ripped from their bodies and burnt in front of them – this isn’t the journey they were sold on. Dara (Tracy Gotoas) is hand-picked by her captors, selected for a subsequent journey, much worse than she could have ever imagined. On the flipside, the protagonist of the film – Jérémie Laheurte’s Yann – is first seen partaking in a robbery, leading him to sell on valuables to Nigerian traffickers. 

Paralleling his petty crimes and probation requirements, Yann finds himself under threat from gangsters who he owes 30,000. The lives of Yann and his family are in peril. However, Sumaï (Bosh) – the kingpin of Nigerian traffickers – offers Yann a job: drive a slave, internally carrying 30 bags of drugs, to Spain for 12,000. That slave is Dara.  

Blazing Neon takes on the difficult task of depicting sex trafficking on screen. FGKO (Fabrice Garçon and Kévin Ossona) avoid the route of severe or gratuitous exploitation – when they easily could have done – in favour of a focus on the characters’ relationship on the road, with hints of an exposure and commentary on women trafficking women. 

In pursuing the sub-genre of the road movie, Blazing Neon gears itself towards an existence of being a character study with action elements. Going into this film, the direction taken could have easily been that of an art movie. Instead, this character drama eventually finds some of its heaviest hits with action elements. Relationship between Yann and Dara, though rough at first, transcends into something worthy and wholesome, even if Yann could have freed Dara immediately and got off with the 2000 up front. But still, this is a story which details Yann’s journey to decency and Dara’s journey to survival. 

As a road movie, one of FGKO’s greatest achievements is the depiction of location. From France to Spain, the directing duo excels in exposing the underworld in which the scum of trafficking both lurk and operate. This exposure makes the film, rightfully, look and feel dirty when appropriate.

Ultimately, it is safe to determine that Blazing Neon is an inconsistently-gritty road movie. But when this film gets dark, it is absolutely pitch black. FGKO find great success in knowing when to humanise the subject matter and when to go full throttle with complete edginess. At times, the ambiance can be too unsettling, but is driven by the spirit of hope, which is heralded by excellent performances from its leading stars.

Blazing Neon had its UK premiere at MANIFF 2023 on Saturday 11th March.

3.5 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source,, Fair Use 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: