It takes quite a movie to bring me out of blogging retirement but Mandy is no ordinary film. Actually that might be the biggest understatement of all time. Imagine if Nicholas Winding Refn directed Deliverance after a two week vacation at the local opium den. Add in Nicolas Cage at his crazy best and some Hellraiser-esque demon bikers and you have one of the most genuinely bonkers pieces of cinema in years.
Mandy is the simple story of one man going on a rip-roaring revenge frenzy against a hippy mountain cult who murdered his wife. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before however it’s the style and storytelling that set this apart from your average revenge thriller. From the very start director Panos Cosmatos creates an almost dream like mood that quickly turns into a psychedelic nightmare. Many shots are bathed in a deep red that gives the movie a hellish feel. If that’s not enough we’re introduced to seemingly supernatural monsters on motorcycles with what follows being a LSD trip of ultra-violence and memorable scenes you’ll not see anywhere else.
The main event here of course is the performance of Nicolas Cage and this is him at his best. After a series of bad direct to DVD action flicks it’s a joy to see Cage let loose in a film like this. You can tell he’s having a blast as he screams while sitting on the toilet downing a bottle of vodka or maniacally laughing as he’s sprayed in the face with blood from a recently slashed monster’s throat. Special mention though needs to go to Linus Roache as charismatic cult leader Jeremiah. He’s believable as a nutter with a god complex and makes a great villain.
Mandy is a film that skates that thin line between style and substance mainly falling on the side of the former. However the style is so off the wall and blended into the story at a deep level that the movie is all about the mood and visuals. There’s a deeper mythology in there that brings all the disparate elements together in as cohesive a way as a movie that features a montage of Cage forging a kickass demon killing axe can. Not everyone will love Mandy or even like it but personally I enjoyed almost every crazy minute of this creative head trip.
If you’ve even wanted to see Nicolas Cage engaging in a chainsaw fight with a 1980s hippy or Ken Barlow’s son hanging dong then this is for you. If that’s not your bag then I’m sorry, we can’t be friends. Seriously though, give Mandy a chance, I guarantee it will be nothing if not memorable.
Mandy is currently playing in select UK cinemas including the Filmhouse in Edinburgh so catch it while you can!
Have you seen Mandy? Are you in the love it or hate it camp? What’s your favourite Nic Cage performance? Let me know in the comments below.