A retro-obsessed director and an '80s icon team up for a hallucinatory axe-wielding fantasy lovingly crafted for a niche audience.
What further bug-eyed craziness can Nicolas Cage, who has already given us so much bug-eyed craziness, provide? In the case of this psychedelic revenge fantasy, the answer is a single-take bathroom meltdown during which he appears to down a bottle of vodka while crying and emitting animal screams. In his underpants. When this is done, his grieving character forges a scimitar – yes – and goes on the hunt for a gang of Manson-like killers who have slayed the love of his life, the gentle Mandy (Andrea Riseborough).
It’s possibly peak Cage, though getting to this point in the movie requires stamina – and not just because it all unfolds well after the hour mark. Co-writer and director Panos Cosmatos is evidently working out some kind of fixation he has on a certain type of glossy ’80s VHS-era aesthetic. This affection for dreamy sci-fi nightscapes and ghostly King Crimson tunes makes ‘Mandy’ a geek’s paradise, far from your typical piece of star-slumming action.
But Cosmatos needs you to be charitable toward the performances. Or, barring that, he needs you to be stoned – and many will oblige. Graced by a thickly menacing synth score from composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (‘Sicario’), whose recent death from a drug overdose represents the loss of a major talent, ‘Mandy’ is already guaranteed cult status.
Cast and crew