Release date: September 13, 2018
Directed by: Panos Cosmatos
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, & Linus Roache
#1 Movie in the US on this date: The Nun
If I could sum up Mandy for you in a few words, here’s what comes to mind:
As a metal fan, this movie absolutely floored me. Even after watching the bat-shit crazy trailer with my wife, and unsuccessfully convincing her to go to a midnight showing, I was in no way prepared for this level of sheer visual delight and madness.
Ultimately, despite her refusal to watch Mandy, I do have my wife to thank for this surreal cinematic experience as she graciously gifted me with a Shudder subscription. If you’re a horror fan, Shudder fucking rules! My wife likes it because she’s a big fan of the book-made Shudder series Discovery of Witches. It’s a win-win!
Mandy’s opening credit’s pan over an indigo-laced tree line of the Pacific Northwest. Then, slowly, eerily, emerges the haunting melody of King Crimson’s “Starless”. This song perfectly sets the tone for the unrelenting odyssey ahead.
Our story unfolds with the introduction of Red (Cage), a burly, flannel-clad lumberjack of few words. After a long day’s work, Red is greeted by the creative, mysterious Mandy (Riseborough) in their reclusive, many-windowed, forest cabin.
They live a peaceful, loving life; in harmony with the magnificent woodland that surrounds them.
With Red away at work, Mandy ventures into town for supplies on foot via a dusty back road with a pronounced timberline.
On her way home, Mandy catches the attention of Jeremiah Sand (Roache), a Manson-esque figure traveling the country with his van full of “disciples”.
Jeremiah’s overt infatuation with Mandy quickly escalates to obsession, and he commands his followers to make her part of his flock.
From here, the tranquility expressed in the first scenes of the movie rapidly disintegrate into a vortex of insanity and tragedy, displaying equal parts Hellraiser horror and the supreme visionary confidence of Blade Runner 2049.
Honestly, at this point, any further review would spoil this extraordinary film, and I have zero interest in doing that.
Director Panos Cosmatos is a cinematic surgeon; every detail, color, facial expression, line, et al has its place, and are woven together in a way so seamless, one may doubt their terrestrial origin.
Cage’s lead delivers his classic over-the-top lunacy, but showcases a high level of maturity and focus. As a viewer, you can see and feel the actor’s genuine torment and amusement. Without Cage, I honestly don’t think this film would be so effective; he really is the cornerstone.
Mandy is an instant cult classic, and one viewing simply won’t be enough to absorb all of its many nuances. At this point, I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve watched it.
Interestingly enough, this film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. This makes it one of those movies where you can put it on mute, and compliment it with your own soundtrack. I assure you, this in no way will diminish the intensity of this film. The visuals are just too powerful.
As soon as humanly possible, pop some pop corn, dim the lights, crank the surround sound, and dive into the nightmarish abyss that is Mandy. Rinse, repeat ad infinitum.
Watch Mandy here.