released 12 OCTOBer 18 | 121 minutes Director Panos Cosmatos Cast Nicolas Cage, andrea riseborough, linus roache, Bill duke
Even by the standards of cinema’s bastion of batshit, Mandy is Nicolas Cage uncaged: snorting coke, caked in gore, and screaming lines like, “You ripped my favourite shirt!” while tussling with a leather-clad Cenobitethingy that’s been summoned by a Satanic cult.
Set in 1983, it sees Cage play Red, a lumberjack who lives in a log cabin with his wife (Andrea Riseborough). Their cosy life is rudely interrupted by the aforementioned cult, led by Jeremiah (Linus Roache). One mind-meltingly psychedelic, gut-churningly horrific sequence later, Mandy’s dead and Red is left to stumble home and sit on the toilet in his Y-fronts to unleash a volley of howls, bellows and guttural roars.
The first two thirds of the film are slow, trippy and avant garde, with much of the (in)action shot in foul, infernal colours, and Benjamin Loeb’s narcotic widescreen images made all the more bewitching by off-beam transitions, discombobulating superimpositions, and Johan Johansson’s haunting, apocalyptic score. Think Larry Cohen’s half-arthouse, half-grindhouse oddity God Told Me To, rinsed in the netherworld atmosphere of Blue Velvet and designed to resemble the artwork of ’80s metal albums. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but those who plug into its hallucinogenic vibe will be transfixed.
For the final stretch, Mandy switches gears, accelerating into a revenge thriller as Cage bottles the essence of every whack-job he’s ever played and takes his bug-eyed nutjob act to a whole new level. Hunting down both the Satanic cult and the S&M demons they summoned, he breaks out a crossbow, a chainsaw and a gigantic axe, his grin getting bigger and brighter with each fresh gallon of blood that sprays his face.
Nightmarish, ludicrous and a ton of fun, Mandy seals the deal by concluding on a dazzling final shot that’ll send viewers spilling into the night with a sense of cosmic wonderment. Jamie Graham
Cage was originally offered the role of Jeremiah. He pushed for Red instead, as he “didn’t want to light a woman on fire”.
He’d like to see the bees come after him now.