See­ing Red

SFX - - Reviews -

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.

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