Everyone knows Nicolas Cage as one of the most insane actors who has ever lived; able to give an over-the-top performance in the blink of an eye, which not even John Malkovich can be able to top; which is why the lead role in ‘Mandy’ is perfect for him. Though “Mandy” is not the name of his character, but that of his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), an artist whose hobbies include being out in the wilderness and turning into a deep and meaningful book. The character of Mandy is also a motivational tool for Cage’s Red to go out for some good old-fashioned bloody revenge when a group of hippie Jesus freaks, led by a Charles Manson-esque figure named Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) mess with him and take her from his life.
From there, this is not just Cage giving off a crazed performance that we are so used to seeing, but a man who has been through the worst thing he could possibly go through and wanting to take something back. The moment we see Red guzzle down a bottle of Vodka while tending to his wounds with said bottle, as insane as it sounds, is one of pain and anger, and we feel it too. It is enough to make you root for Red even when the odds seem against him, as he journeys to take out every single member he can find.
When coming up with ‘Mandy’, writer/director Panos Cosmatos seems to have taken inspiration from almost every revenge thriller in the book (Ex. ‘John Wick’, ‘I Spit on Your Grave’, ‘Mad Max’) with gory splashes and animated sequences reminiscent of Fede Álvarez’s ‘Evil Dead’ remake and ‘Heavy Metal’ respectively. Though, what separates ‘Mandy’ from the rest is its neon art style. Every moment is a literal painting come to life with references to heavy metal bands laced throughout. You see it in its title cards and its atmosphere. I guarantee that there will be no film like ‘Mandy’ in the future. Its craziness, excessive gore, and atmosphere make Ari Aster’s ‘Hereditary’ (my favorite movie from last year) feel tame in comparison.