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Okay. There are some people who will watch this movie and instinctively think that it’s a pile of artistic wank within the first few minutes, but for those who stick it out through the admittedly slow pace will find themselves lured into a fantastical journey, that leaves you entranced by the sheer bloody beauty that is depicted on screen.

Italian director Panos Cosmatos’ sophomore outing is an attack on the senses that is delivered in a trance-like state, enamoring you by its beauty of rich colours and kaleidoscopic fluidity. This false-sense of sedateness is doubled further with the deep dialogue between kindred couple Red Miller (Nic Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) which lends itself to the hippy-life that they lead in the remote northern wilderness.

Enter cult leader Jeremiah Sand awesomely portrayed by Linus Roache, oscillating between delusional insanity and vulnerability sublimely. From a chance encounter with Mandy, Jeremiah like the audience is intoxicated and feels compelled to delve further into her mystery, so he brings his entourage of devotees and sadistic fucks to rip apart this idyllic sanctuary and claim Mandy for his own. The problem is that perfection doesn’t exist and when Mandy doesn’t meet his expectations, Jeremiah wants to tear it up and destroy everything. By severing open the guts of peace and bliss, Jeremiah unwittingly sours the land of milk and honey and from that moment on, the turmoil and angst that has been contained, pours forth in a devastating form that has no means of slowing down until the balance is restored once more.

The depredation is the trigger for Red to resort to his base instincts and exact pure bloody hell and revenge on Mandy’s tormentors. This dark and twisted journey that Red undertakes is filled with pure anarchy and hatred that it feels only an actor like Cage can portray. The beauty of his performance though isn’t from his stereotypical over-the-top exuberance but in the stifled and restrained approach that he plays his role, which is a testament to both Cage’s acting prowess and Cosmatos’ direction. By ever so slowly dialing up the heat, Red reaches the pique of frenzy at the right moment in the film to make it both believable and a delight to see.

The diagnosis:
Beware of your strive for beauty and perfection. Slice it open and you get a reign of anarchy and destruction.
Cage taps into the life of a man who has his whole world savagely ripped wide open and ventures out on a path for vengeance and fury, delivering one of his finest performances to date.
It’s a visually stunning movie with an amazing cast including a welcome cameo from Bill Duke in the midst of the mind-fuckery that goes on.
Whilst it’s not for everyone, this movie will delight many in its unique style and approach to the celluloid form.

The Big Boss on crack!!

– Saul Muerte
Catch the screening of Mandy at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

Screening times and tickets available below:


Mandy 1