At a time where movies feel like the same cookie cutter formula to just make billions of dollars, there is not a lot of room for experimentation. Every once in a while a small movie comes out that defies expectations, and recently that movie is ‘Mandy’.
‘”Mandy”’, starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough, follows a man who takes on a group of hippies that violently murdered his wife. The plot is reminiscent of classic revenge movies, akin to 1974’s ‘Death Wish’. While the main points of the plot seem a bit shallow, it excels with how it represents the action through the visuals and style.
The second half of the movies descends into complete madness with Red, played by Cage, taking on the cult and monster bikers on his way to revenge. What transpires includes Red smithing a silver axe, snorting a mountain of cocaine and dueling a cult member with a chainsaw. While the action can seem a bit all over the place, it is kept in check by how the plot progresses with in hand with visuals.
The visuals in ‘”Mandy”’ are some of the most impressive and experimental of any movie in the past decade. The style feels like a psychedelic heavy metal album cover set to 11, and over the course of the movie it ramps up more and more. At times the visuals are stunning with what they get away with, legitimately jaw dropping with how unhinged the visuals got when the credits rolled.
When it comes to Nicholas Cage performances, ‘”Mandy”’ might be his best yet. Cage holds a gripping intensity on the audience over the course of the movie, but still has his classic goofy moments. Those looking for more German Expressionism in their movies are going to be fulfilled with how Cage goes with the movie.
Another standout performance is Linus Roache, who plays the former folk singer now hippie cult leader Jeremiah Sand. He perfectly encapsulates the type of character that wants to believe they are a menacing, but as soon as they are pushed back on they break in the most entertaining of ways.
While ‘”Mandy”’ does feel very unique with how it visually shows the struggle Cage has against this cult, the catalyst for the movie does feel stale for modern times. Relying on the trope of women having to be violently killed in order to progress the story feels regressive to the progress movies have made over the last 40 years. It would definitely seem more pronounced without the style and visuals, which saves the movie from falling in line with more exploitative revenge movies.
Movies now feel lacking in style, but ‘”Mandy”’ sets out and makes a statement with how the visuals. It might be too intense for some, but for those looking for something completely different at the theater will be more than satisfied. It is genuinely pleasant to see something like “Mandy” get made and go against the trend of placidity of recent movies. “Mandy” has a unique vision that is perfectly done on screen, and to see that vision represented on screen is worth celebrating.