Mandy is the new film by Italian director Panos Cosmatos. Like his last feature, Beyond the Black Rainbow, Mandy is very much a strange mashup of genres and ideas, relyingheavily on its hyper-stylization to carry the film. The year is 1983; Nicolas Cage stars as Red Miller, a loved-up lumberjack and partner of the titular Mandy. Their idyllic, solitary lifestyle is soon shattered by the arrival of an imposing religious cult and a demonic biker gang. As the situation spirals out of control, Red finds himself on a nightmarish odyssey of bloody vengeance.
On a technical scale, Mandy has its merits. The film is very interesting visually, pulsating with ‘80s atmosphere and complemented by a fantastic original score by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson; it’s a real sensory overload. Cage’s performance is typically insane, but without this gimmick, the film would fall apart. The narrative is dull, merely a generic revenge plot. Pacing is also a major issue, with scenes lingering for unnecessarily long and irritating amounts of time. Tonally, the film is all over the place, taking itself far too seriously, to begin with, before slipping into almost self-parody.
Overall, Mandy feels like a missed opportunity; setting up interesting concepts and effective world building before squandering its setup in the final act. The film is strongest as a trippy splatter-fest – an entertaining, albeit, shallow ordeal. If an insane Nicolas Cage exacting brutal revenge on a hillbilly cult and supernatural biker-gang sound like your thing, just skip halfway through.