“CRAZY EVIL!” – Nicolas Cage
Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic, ultra-violent nightmare stars the enigmatic Nicolas Cage, as a quiet and stoic man named Red, living an isolated lifestyle in the wild with his girlfriend Mandy. Their peace is interrupted when the leader of a satanic cult (known as the Children of the New Dawn), is struck by Mandy’s beauty. He orders one of his followers to kidnap her with the help of a hellish biker gang named ‘The Black Skulls’. After an uncomfortable spine-chilling ritual is performed, it has very little effect on Mandy, who instead laughs in the face of her captors. Angering Jeremiah (the leader), he brings her to Red, who is tied and gagged by barbed wire and has her brutally killed right in front of his eyes. Seeing red (pun intended), Cage goes on a murderous rampage, one that perfectly fits the energy-drink heavy aesthetic that the movie had already built up.
Not as fast paced as the trailer would have you believe, Cosmatos’ second picture is a real slow burner. Taking over an hour for the story to really develop into something that isn’t just relying on its visual appearance alone. A perfect example of style over substance, Mandy’s mind-boggling cinematography picks up an awful lot of the slack, certainly within its first act. The second however, goes much further than you’d ever expect. Offering things I have never seen before and dare I say, I don’t ever think I want to have to experience again.
Never has Cage suited a role more perfectly. Hypnotic, unintentionally hilarious and completely bonkers, which just so happens to gel with the exuberant vibe of this ‘art piece’. The right balance of fun and blatantly absurd, he brings the madness that fuels the movie’s otherwise sluggish narrative. A performance that made him seem like the only logical candidate to pull this mad show off and if you’ve come here seeking an infamous Cage meltdown, you will not be disappointed.
Mandy is an uncomfortable, LSD power trip through hell. A chaotic, no holds barred, love letter to the 80’s, grindhouse horror and metal music. The visual representation of a migraine that will continue to up the ante even when you think the film could go no further. It’s definitely not for everyone, by that I mean I’m not entirely sure what demographic the movie is aiming for. If you can manage to stick it out through its tiring first half, you will be rewarded, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you fail to do so. Overall, it’s a mixed bag with mixed reviews, but definitely 2018’s marmite movie.