Mandy (2018) - Psychedelic art house elements meet a sinister tale of vengeance - 9/10 (24/09/18)
When news broke that Nicolas Cage would be the lead actor of a psychedelic art house horror movie, I was immediately intrigued. Despite everything he has accomplished, Nicolas Cage is often overtly criticized and not given enough credit for being one of Hollywood's most consistent contemporary actors. His performance in this film is brutal, emotional and twisted but it isn't the film's only strength.
The cinematography is obviously inspired by horror movies of the seventies. While overrated contemporary genre flicks like It Follows only copy elements from the past, Mandy uses flashy colours, psychedelic music and vintage clothing to its advantage. The film follows a couple living relatively secluded in a forest. A fanatic sect kidnaps, torments and burns the woman to death while the agonized husband has to watch her helplessly. He is left behind and for dead but manages to survive and take his revenge.
It isn't only the liberating carnage in strange settings or the psychedelic references to the seventies or eighties that make this film stand out but also the quite intriguing characters. Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough credibly play a simple couple in love with each other and the nature around their cozy home. The members of the sect are all quite unique. Jeremiah Sand reminds of a mixture of mass murderer Charles Manson and Peoples Temple's religious leader Jim Jones. Brother Swan intrigues as obedient and resilient disciple. Mother Marlene is a sadist who enjoys seeing people suffer. Sister Lucy however shows a different side of the cult as she appears to be a victim stuck in the sect and not knowing how to get out. Every single character is present for a reason and even the Black Skulls, a mysterious biker gang with almost inhuman powers, is quite intriguing.
The only negative element of the film is that the first third takes some time to unfold. Mandy carefully introduces us to the numerous characters which is a great idea but especially the presentation of the two lead characters Mandy Bloom and Red Miller overstays its welcome. The movie could have been shortened by at least fifteen minutes at that point while the rest is quite concise.
Mandy provoked quite mixed reactions at the movie theater I went to. The men gave the film a standing ovation and were clearly enjoying themselves while most of the girlfriends they had brought along felt somewhat unsettled. Mandy has an artistic, psychedelic and referential side but it's still a slasher at heart and tells a sinister tale of vengeance. It's not as unsettling as I Saw the Devil but it still isn't for the faint-hearted. This isn't a movie for children.
If you like art house cinema and horror movies, Mandy combines both very well and offers a psychedelic ride you won't forget anytime soon. If this film plays at a movie theater near you, go ahead and enjoy its magnificent images and sounds right there. Mandy might not reinvent the genre and has a few minor lengths but it's one of the most creative films released so far this year.« Peppermint (2018) - A feminist take on John Wick - 9/10 (24/09/18)Daniel the Wizard / Daniel der Zauberer (2004) - Rest in peace - 3/10 (24/09/18) »