YOU RIPPED MY SHIRT! YOU RIPPED MY SHIRT! Is this the best movie ever? Yes! Am I exaggerating (of course I am but damn was it an awesome film)
Full disclosure I really loved this movie so I will try to make my review as unbiased as possible. It is directed by Panos Cosmatos and stars the one and only Nicolas Cage.
(Minor spoilers in parts of the review)
Set in the primal wilderness in the year of 1983 “Mandy” tells the story of Red Miller (Nick Cage) and the love of his life (Andrea Riseborough). They live a seemingly normal life and have a loving and peaceful existence. One day Mandy is walking home and a group of people pass her by and their leader takes a liking to her. It turns out that he is the leader (played by Linus Roache) of a weird cult and tells his followers to get Mandy for him. He entrusts his most loyal follower with the horn of Abraxas and sends him off to get her. The horn seems to have some sort of a weird power and a group of bikers resembling a horde of demons. They attack the couple and take them back to the leader. Once there he calls her to him and tells her “You are a special one Mandy, I too am a special one”. He explains that he was chosen by god and that god himself speaks to him. However Mandy is not impressed and starts laughing at him. This greatly damages his ego and he decides to burn her alive in front of Red while leaving him to bleed out and die. Greatly enraged and grieving Red manages to free himself however and sets forth to exact his revenge. And oh boy does he ever do it. The second half of the movie is a bloody and visually satisfying gore fest.
We really don’t deserve Nicolas Cage. This movie was a prime example of it. Him and the director seem like a match made in heaven. Like Colin Farrell and Yorgos Lanthimos. Panos Cosmatos creates a beautiful and colorful world where Cage and his unique acting style fit perfectly. One of the best scenes of the film is when we see him screaming his head off while getting drunk in his underwear trying to cope with losing the love of his life.
But there is so much more to the movie than just Cage and his excellence. Visually and atmosphere wise it delivers a very terrifying yet beautiful psychedelic viewing experience. The use of colors is superb. There is also a lot of symbolism and meaning behind many of the things in the movie. Like the horn of Abraxas and many of the texts that Mandy was reading. I think the most blatant example was the reaper which was mentioned a few times. Mandy said that the reaper was coming for the cult leader and soon after that we see Cage make an ax which very much resembled a scythe and he even called his crossbow “Reaper”.
The main theme of the film, as said by the director is the dangerous ego of men which is made obvious by the protagonist of the film – the cult leader. He sees Mandy and immediately becomes obsessed with her. Thinking that he is pretty much the perfect man he thinks that just by taking her and revealing himself to her she will immediately fall in love with him but when it’s shown that it is not the case his whole world comes crashing down in front of him. He becomes paranoid and starts yelling at all his subordinates.
Another interesting aspect of the movie was the supernatural, or lack there of. Were the bikers really demons or just high on LSD. They looked like demons yes but some things in the film suggest otherwise. For example the tiger (yes there is even a tiger in this film) was said that “the shit is good if the tiger is calm”. It leaves it to the interpretation of the viewer himself which is a thing that I love in movies (when done right).
And yet there are still a lot of things to talk about like the creepy goblin cheese commercial, the horn itself, the meanings of the poems that Mandy was reading, the number 44, the subtle political and religious messages and more. But I’ll have to rewatch the movie to analyze some of those things and maybe even find more. I will definitely have to check out the other movie from the director – Beyond the black rainbow too.
It might not be for everyone especially since the first part can be a bit slow, but I still very highly recommend it. You can check it out below:
Final verdict: 9/10