Sundance 2018 Review: “Mandy” (2018) ★★★★



Having seen so many movies this year and many more left to see, I can hardly compare Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” to any of them. Oh, it’s not something you can watch with the entire family, just a heads-up for you, unless it’s Halloween. But there’s one thing though. With all the craziness happening within two hours, you might find yourself left with no single family member after it ends, because who in their right mind is going to cheer or enjoy what Nicolas Cage’s Red does? And if you’re surrounded by people with common sense, we all should agree with their decision, right? Nevertheless, it’s not going to be the case this time. Maybe just because of an infection called collective madness, you will find everyone around infected by it, in a good way of course.

As I just mentioned collective madness, to be honest, it’s an underestimate of what really occurs in Cosmatos’ brilliantly crafted “Mandy”. As you’ve already figured out, it follows the title character Mandy, portrayed by Andrea Riseborough whose character is happily married with Nicolas Cage’s Red. That marriage might have lasted longer than it was noted in the papers, if not for the vicious plan of an unhinged religious sect that decides to end it by slaughtering Mandy right before the helpless and captured Red. Left empty inside but angry and devasted outside, Red makes the decision to hunt the entire sect singlehandly and make them pay for what they did to the love of his life.

The opening scene takes the viewer to the Shadow Mountains in 1983 A.D. where we meet Mandy and her beautiful drawings. Red, as a dutiful husband, does everything to please Mandy. In fact, their happiness was so clear and obvious that there was no such power that could interfere or kill the relationship they shared. Then we meet Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), whose look is more than enough to make you call 911 or even the closest mental institution for him and his sect to get psychiatric assessment.

Jeremiah’s obsession with Mandy will appear disturbing, and as you watch his actions, there will be no questions about what to do in real life when you meet someone like him. But all that won’t matter until the moment when Red begins killing every member of Jeremiah’s cult. Because that was the only way for Red to ensure that they won’t comeback from wherever their souls arrived from after departing their lifeless bodies.

As for the performances, there might be a little concern about the state of mind of the actors, who you hope were not hurt during filming. For instance, Linus Roache, Andrea Riseborough, Richard Brake, Ned Dennehy and Olwen Fouéré were unrecognizable. Their way of delivering their part was too scary and too real, almost like if they ran off from a mental house. And Nicolas Cage, what can I say other than, “He’s finally back”. He managed to find the right filmmaker who was well aware of his acting abilities, as what Mr. Cage does is something that should never be missed under any circumstance.

In conclusion, “Mandy” is like Dante’s Inferno. Despite beautiful colors, a mind-blowing scenery and the visually stunning photography, it’s not the place any of us would like to end up in. Every single scene is pure masterpiece. The entire story will cause dizziness and provide the best atmosphere possible so you could enjoy it thoroughly. But enjoying is a very weak and wrong word to describe how excellent and truly unique “Mandy” is. Just the entire experience is almost like being delivered by aliens from a different planet we human beings would not be able to match.

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