Age Rating: 18+
Runtime: 2 hours, 1 minute
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage
“You exude a cosmic darkness, do you see that?”
Mandy brings together actor Nicolas Cage and director Panos Cosmatos who together deliver an other-worldly experience through a nightmarish fever dream aesthetic.
Set in the early 1980s near the mountains of California, follow Red and Mandy who become the unfortunate victims of a LSD laced cult that features drugs, sex, sacrifice, motorcycles, chainsaws, crossbows and lots of fire.
Cosmatos created the story and script to this harrowing journey and the director’s uncompromising vision is on full display with Cage firmly in the driver’s seat, doors locked and foot on the accelerator taking the whole audience on this trip. It is a delight to see Cage, who has had an extremely inconsistent career as of late given a chance to shine and reinstate exactly why certain audiences love him so much.
This on-form display comes from Cosmatos’ direction of Cage, starting slow with him as early the world itself is revealed to be already seemingly enveloped by chaos except for the small dreamy pocket of existence that the characters of Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) share together. Cage portrays Red as an older and relaxed man in the beginning sequences of the film with some clues to a more rebellious past who quickly has to catch up and eventually outpace this nightmare that has destroyed his quiet idyllic life.
Andrea Riseborough portrays Mandy with similar beats of emotion as Red early on; Mandy is talented yet quiet and mindful and also seems to have a troubling past that the audience is only teased with through memories and stories.
The film does start off slow but when it gets going it never stops. Linus Roache plays the role of degenerate and devilish cult leader Jeremiah Sand who eyes Mandy walking alone and his desire to have her is what kick-starts this nightmare for all involved.
To avoid spoilers I will just give a few elements to preview; the audience is brought on a trippy red-eyed journey that exposes them to villians that would intimate Charles Manson and the demons of Hellraiser as well as featuring crossbow shots, battle axes, chainsaw battles, neck-snaps and much, much more.
This film certainly isn’t for everyone as it can drag in spots and some of the dialogue is suspect to bloat at times but if you find yourself a bit bloodthirsty this October and want a real throwback Mandy is a film that will scratch that itch as well as providing a maze of subtexts to keep you thinking long after you have left your cinema seat.
Give Cosmatos and Cage two hours and they will give you a trip to hell and back with every morbidly beautiful sight and sound.
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