Thursday, September 20, 2018

Movie Review: "Mandy" (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos
Year: 2018
Rating: NR
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

A man goes on a bloody quest for revenge against the religious cult that murdered his wife.

Andrea Riseborough Mandy 2018
"When I saw you on the road the other day, you called silently to me...and I listened." (Image Source)
There's crazy, and then there are Nicolas Cage levels of crazy, and "Mandy" is definitely the latter in all of its insane glory. This trip of a film is written and directed by Panos Casmatos. It is his second feature-length movie, the first being the sci-fi horror called "Beyond the Black Rainbow." As you may have deduced, it stars Nicolas Cage as seemingly mild-mannered lumberjack Red Miller, who lives with his lover Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). When a religious acid-cult led by the enigmatic Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) and a gang of bikers kidnap Mandy and later kill her, Red snaps and goes on a murderous quest for revenge.
Linus Roache Mandy 2018
"If you are not with me, you will not ascend." (Image Source)
As far as the overall plot of "Mandy" goes, it couldn't be simpler. We have seen revenge horror films many times in the past. The differences with this flick are in the details, and the details are bizarre, all of which culminate in a completely bonkers-but-heavy journey for retribution. The lighting, the atmosphere, and the cinematography are all wild and sensual and eclectic. The way "Mandy" looks helps elevate it beyond its basic story, turning it into a visceral experience for the senses. Adding to the optical overload are also animated interludes here and there that reminded us of something like "Heavy Metal." This adds an extra layer of awesome to this already bitchin' feature. But the main attraction? The main attraction is Nicolas Cage, who gets to be right in his wheelhouse and go "full Cage." He is given complete artistic license to play Red as crazy and over-the-top and emotional as his heart desires. Thank God for someone like director Panos Cosmatos, who clearly knows who Cage is/has become as an actor in recent years. No matter what level Cage turns it up to, he can never go too far in something like this.

Another thing we like about "Mandy" that others may not necessarily embrace is the relatively ambiguous nature of some of the things that go on here. We have a lot of questions about certain characters and whether or not they are even human. We also aren't entirely sure what specific setting and where this movie actually takes place, and we have a hunch it may take a couple viewings to get these answers. It says it takes place in the Shadow Mountains, but specific images are shown that makes us question if these Shadow Mountain are in California or some other place/planet.
Nicolas Cage bloody Mandy 2018
"Can you see this is all part of your journey?" (Image Source)
"Mandy" is pretty damn hardcore. It is violent and bloody and is full of graphic gore, but it is also strangely moving and cathartic. It is downright disturbing at times. The final product may be weird and a little confusing, but it is undoubtedly an entertaining ride, especially for Nicolas Cage fans, who are basically being rewarded for their years of undying adulation for him with his performance in this awesome flick.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~94%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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