If I told you I had a dream involving Mandy, would you believe me? Ever since that dream, Mandy has been on my mind, and when I found a theater next to me I knew it was destiny.
I have never indulged in drugs but watching Mandy in theaters will probably be the closest I come to experiencing it. The film combines fantasy and horror driven by ultra-violence to shake you to your very core. There were times when I couldn’t look away from the pure ecstasy of the cinematography to times where I literally had to cover my eyes to avoid what would surely be nightmare fuel.
Following his debut with Beyond the Black Rainbow, Director Panos Cosmatos takes us beyond a rainbow and into a whole ‘nother world with Mandy. The year is 1983, and Red Miller and Mandy Bloom have made a nice little life for themselves in the wilderness close to the Shadow Mountains, until a band of Cultists and a demonic-like biker gang decide to turn their night upside down. What transpires in this film can only be compared to a hot feverish nightmare, leading you to wake up sweating in the darkness.
Yes, what you read and heard is true about Mandy, but reading about something and then experiencing are two completely different things. You know you are in for a ride when the film opens with “Starless” by King Crismon. The late Jóhann Jóhannsson gives us an OST that doesn’t let up. The music takes you to a different planet and always seems to heighten a scene rather than hurt it. At times it is hauntingly beautiful and during certain moments turns adrenaline inducing.
Cinematographer Benjamin Loeb deserves as much credit as anyone involved with this film. If I was to sum up the best three parts of Mandy it would be the actors, music, and the visuals. There is a theme of otherworldly and fantasy that comes with this film, and Loeb completely captures that feeling, using colors and the landscape to take the viewer on a journey that makes you question what drugs were used when fleshing out this film. The drug-fueled and satanic-like imagery of this film will stick with me long after 2018 is over.
Furthermore, my eyes are on Cosmatos next film, and I hope he doesn’t take almost eight years this time to make another one. A large amount of passion and care went into this film. The lines, acting, and I would go as far as certain scenes would be downright laughable to goofy it wasn’t for the people involved handling this film. Nicolas Cage gives his best performance yet as Red Miller. He doesn’t speak much, but it doesn’t matter because his physical actions, facial expressions, and sheer emotional energy carry the film. Watching his character transform on screen from a solemn lumberjack to the grim reaper is satisfying. Someone wrote that Cage is the sanest person in Mandy, and they are absolutely right. I never thought an actor could hold his own with Cage on screen, and match him when it comes to insane over the top line delivery until Jeremiah (Linus Roach), the leader of the unholy cult, makes his entrance. Jeremiah delivers some lines that will be quoted for the rest of the year and is one of the reasons I think this will end up with a cult following (no pun intended).
Now I know everyone’s focus will be on Cage when it comes to this film, but Andrea Riseborough should not go unnoticed for her transformation into the disturbing titular character. When I mentioned nightmarish images that would haunt me, Mandy is at the center of it. The way Riseborough looks into the camera gives me goosebumps. There is a darkness to her character that is mystifying in certain scenes and—being honest—horrifying in others.
If you were on the fence about seeing this due to Nicolas Cage be associated with trashy films, I am here to tell you that Mandy is the exception. I encourage you all to see this in theaters to get the full experience of the eerie visuals and soundtrack, but if you can’t at least watch it on VOD.