Let me start by saying that this movie is definitely not for everyone, in fact it’s probably not most people’s cup of tea. Regardless it’s still a damn good movie and I recommend giving it a watch even if you’re unsure about it.
Mandy stars the legendary Nicolas Cage as Red Miller, Linus Roache as Jeremiah Sand, and Andrea Riseborough as the titular Mandy. Mandy is about how the lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiraling, surreal rampage of vengeance. There’s definitely a major emphasis on surrealness in this movie and it works excellently because this movie gets wild. It’s a slow burn that’s worth every second.
Cage is excellent in this movie as he channels all the weirdness and crazy faces he’s exhibited over the years into this role and absolutely nailed it. Roache was a great villain who was equally creepy and pathetic in his role as a failed musician turned cult leader. This whole movie was pretty creepy; from the cult members, to the demon bikers, the atmosphere of the movie, and the score. The score for this movie by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson is phenomenal and I’d argue it’s his best work. It’s synthy, unsettling, and wild. It’s as if the score from It Follows did meth then dressed in a trench coat to walk around and flash people on the subway. But in all seriousness the score amplified the creepy weirdness of the movie and the intensity of each scene to make it a better experience for the viewer. There are some parts of the movie that are David Lynch meets Kubrick which is one here of a combo.
Another major strength of the movie is the way it was shot. Director Panos Cosmatos had the movie filmed using the Arri Alexa camera, coupled with the Panavision anamorphic format in order to achieve the film's old-school atmosphere. That combination plus excellent set and production design (and of course excellent cinematography) gave the movie a unique look that fit the feel of the movie. It also ends with some of the coolest shots over the last few years. The practical effects for this movie were great too (especially in one of the last scenes) and had a high quality B-movie aesthetic.
I highly recommend giving this movie a shot, it is one of my favorite movies of the year and is definitely going to be the next big cult movie.
Mandy is available to rent/buy on all digital platforms.