Panos Cosmatos has created something special with Mandy. It’s not that the story of Mandy is new (it’s a pretty linear revenge film) but the direction, cinematography, lighting, performance and every other component push the film up.
Red (Cage) and Mandy (Riseborough) live a loving and low key life together in the pine forest of the Pacific Northwest, when cult leader Jeremiah Sand (Roache) becomes infatuated with Mandy, that all comes crashing down. Red is filled with rage and will track down the cult to get his revenge.
The film has a real ethereal touch to it – in the spiritual sense of the word – like a fantasy world, until it turns into a hell world. Drenched in reds and blues (mostly reds) Cosmatos puts this microcosm into a spin, taking deep breaths between the carnage but the films character moments get enough air to make their mark.
Cosmatos vision is singular and you have to take your hat off to him for that. He just flat out goes for it. Taking his time to setup and even when the second half of the film gets rolling, he still is happy to let the film go at its own pace. A horror film that doesn’t care for jump scares or really give a fuck about what you think about the pacing or any of that bullshit, the whole film is a journey that you either are on board with or you’re not, for those of us that are onboard – it’s a helluva trip.
A lot is said about Cage’s style of acting but this film has some of his best work, ever. It is a full on performance, of course Cage gets to showcase his ability to go nuts but it’s his really emotional performance that really gives you a proper look at what Cage brings to the table, a great star turn. Riseborough is great too, making the most of her screen time but Linus Roache (who is fast becoming a favourite) kills it as the batshit, evil Jeremiah. This trio is fantastic and is a great base for all the other smaller parts to shine (Brake and Duke are awesome).
Music plays a huge role in the film helping propel this film along, gothic synth (if I can call it that) and a metal/prog rock style score looms large over the whole film and just pulses along with the film and really is part of the whole experience.
There is a lot going on under the surface in Mandy plenty could be made of the villains motivations, of Red’s revenge and of the world Cosmatos has created and you can dive into it if you like or just be happy to take the trip and enjoy an experimental film that just does its own thing. One of 2018’s best films.
Mandy Blu-Ray/DVD is out on October 30, 2018
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78