REVIEW: Mandy (2018)

Mandy sees a revenge spree under way at the hands of Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) after a psychotic religious group murders his beloved Mandy (Andrea Riseborough).

Mandy was one of my most anticipated releases for the remainder of 2018 as I’m a big Nicolas Cage fan, and I was enthralled by the trailer that came out a few months back. The movie is currently available on VOD and I’ve now had the pleasure of seeing it twice.

I enjoyed the movie on my first viewing, but I knew I didn’t fully get it. I was left with too many questions that prevented me from forgetting it for a solid two weeks. Having watched it a second time, I’m positive that this movie will be making my ‘Top 10 Of 2018’ list, if not the ‘Top 5’.

Stunning, strange, ethereal, daunting and crazy are but just a few adjectives to describe the core experience that Mandy offered. I’m so happy to see director Panos Cosmatos bouncing back after Beyond the Black Rainbow, one of the worst films I’ve seen in recent memory.

Mandy is one of the most unique revenge tales I’ve ever seen. This movie is lean, mean, and ultra-violent, but it’s also stylishly hypnotic and musically euphoric. The late great Johann Johannson’s final film score will go down as one to be revered. Combining heavy metal with trippy synth make for a memorably chilling piece of composition, it really feels like another character.

Mandy is without question one of 2018’s biggest eye-feasts. This movie is shot so deftly and the imagery is so delightfully hardcore that it electrifies all senses. The composition and the pacing allow for a variety of emotional flux. This movie made me laugh in shock, and one scene in a bathroom brought me to tears. There are moments of gross gratification and it very much feels like a journeyed catharsis of other-worldly pleasure. While it is very much a ‘B Movie’, it’s also incredibly intelligent in how trusting it is towards its audience. It shows more than it tells, it knows its own dimension and it relishes that without having to explain itself.

Nicolas Cage gives his best performance in years. He is scary, vulnerable, angry, and a genuinely mad badass. ‘Red’ was a compelling anti-hero with an interesting arch of reversal. Andrea Riseborough dazzles as the artistic title character and Linus Roache gives one of the supporting performances of the year as the deluded Jeremiah Sand.

It has some flaws, mainly a couple of story points and scenes that didn’t fully add up, but they are few. A key ingredient missing from most revenge movies is the element of ‘rage’. Mandy delivered on all fronts there. It manages to be a satisfying blast while also being an emotionally subversive experience.

I loved Mandy. It’s an absolute must-see before the year ends. What a fantastically insane experience!

Written by Seán Mac G.

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