The Shadow Mountains, 1983. Red and Mandy lead a loving and peaceful existence; but when their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.
Saw this movie last week and disliked it at first. Without going into spoilers, I was probably in the wrong mindset to enjoy it properly. But, it stuck with me for days later and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I ended up liking it a lot and will re-watch it as soon as I get the chance. It's visually stunning and the soundtrack complements the visuals perfectly. Soundtrack is getting released in September and I will definitely get it. Not an easy movie to digest, even though there are some scenes that will definitely leave you wondering if they were meant as comedy or if they were just done wrong. This mostly comes down to Cage's somewhat uneven performance - but it's nothing like Wicker Man and it only comes down to a couple of individual shots. Highly recommended!
Definitely not for everyone, this is a niche-of-a-niche type of film: psychedelic-art-horror with a dash of comedy. And I loved it. Some incredible shots and scenes with tons of mind bending crap. So much going on. After a first watch, I think a few of the scenes could probably have been cut a little shorter but I don't know... I need to watch again. And I *want* to watch it again. I felt Nic Cage's particular brand of acting fit perfectly... I think the bathroom scene, even though a little out of place, is such a classic Nic Cage scene. Jarring, the acting in that scenes was... not good, but so Nic Cage. I knew going in that this was probably going to be a movie I'd like, but had prepared myself to be disappointed. I wasn't disappointed at all. I think this is destined to be a cult classic.
_Mandy_ is very much my sort of movie. but it's still not perfect to me. Every trope that makes up _Mandy_, the neon, the synth, the gore, whatever gimmick nonsense, safe to assume I loved it. But _Mandy_ takes **so long** to get going. Normally that's not a mark against a movie in my book, but here's my problem: The entire first half of the movie that's all set-up, gave me absolutely no feel for the relationship between the two leads. It should be the most important part of the movie, it's the impetus for every worthwhile even that happened, but I honestly don't even know if they like each other. There was so much time to explore that dynamic, and they basically never did. But then the real movie kicks in and that wasted time is sort of forgotten and you just enjoy that great, dumb, aesthetic shit. _Final rating:★★★½ - I really liked it. Would strongly recommend you give it your time._
This is "style over substance" done to the extreme. While visually stunning, even hauntingly beautiful at times, there's utterly no point to any of it. Add to that the ridiculous and sometimes painful dialogue and extremely slow pacing, and you got quite a mess in my book. Now, that is not to say it does not have any redeeming qualities - the visual aspect is one, so is the soundtrack. And, well, Nick Cage is .. well, Nick Cage. (YOU RIPPED MY SHIRT?!) I have to assume it is an inspired watch if --and only if-- you're watching it while higher than high. That must also have been the state of those who made it, let alone greenlit and financed it, because despite having so very little to offer in terms of storytelling, it must have cost an arm and a leg to film and produce. Anyway. Unless you are extremely into artsy, pretentious, drawn-out gore-fests, give this a wide berth.
Being very intrigued and in parts fascinated with Beyond the Black Rainbow from a pure cinephile perspective, I was quite eager to see a new film by Panos Cosmatos. After learning about Mandy and what it was about, and seeing it being a bigger budget and more thought-out endeavour, I was of course very eager to see it. After finally watching Mandy it feels to me that Panos Cosmatos failed to deliver on the promise of his first film's virtues, and actually re-established his weaknesses as a director. Not that this is a negative opinion on this film overall. Just explaining how and why Mandy failed my high expectations. Take those sentiments as you will. Besides elements familiar from his first film, with very carefully stylized and mostly beautiful shots and scenes overall, a dreamlike, menacing and off-worldly setting, slow and meditative pace, Mandy also managed to surprise me on several levels. I really appreciated how Mandy, the character, was written and performed, like sort of a person who naturally dislikes and distrusts people. I think Andrea Riseborough did a brilliant job here, although physically, she appeared a bit anorexic to me. I don’t know if she had weight issues that year, and I usually don’t care about those things, but in this particular case her appearance felt a bit jarring to me. But I digress. Other things that majorly surprised me is how the cult was realistically portrayed (if we ignore the biker gang), for better or worse. It's like they were very purposely demystified, in every possible opportunity. And all that in the setting of mystification and stylistic painting of the world as fantastical, which confused the hell out of me. And nothing in this regard changes toward the end. The director, I feel, even chooses to emphasize on this more and more as the movie goes on. It's worth mentioning that Cage's performance, while excellent, was not "baroque", how he calls some of his wild performances, but very controlled, adding little to film’s unearthly atmosphere. Most importantly, Mandy felt like a film with huge problems in both pace and elements that are tonally very disjointed, while each of these elements separately is excellent (faux fantastical setting versus the ugly reality of cult members' character and actions). Also, the part with the chemist really breaks down the narrative, in my opinion. That segment almost feels botched on purpose, Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse style, which is one of the main things I disliked in their double-feature. Still, Mandy contains plenty of fascinating parts for the film to be worthy of re-watching, and is not dull or tedious in anyway. There is some point to Mandy’s fascination with pulp fantasy novels, and Red’s subsequent revenge portrayed as a fantastical quest, but this curious idea alone doesn’t help to liven up the film. Like I said earlier, this approach just doesn’t chafe well with the cult remaining a group of barely threatening and very flawed individuals. Especially given the fact Red managed to overpower a much more dangerous and menacing group earlier in the film. The movie simply fails to ramp up in any manner toward the end, while the story and style demands that. Finally, it’s just not the cult film I expected to see, and I think a lot of people felt the same, given the lukewarm scores. A kinetic, relentless, wild film, what it should have been. At least in its last third. It's just too...stilted. And sadly, I sense this is more a limitation of Cosmatos, than a strong, firm decision on his part. I am now much less excited after seeing Mandy about Cosmatos’ next film, and I think he failed to put himself on the map with Mandy. The future will show.
_By JD Phillips, geekr.org_ I think this is the strangest review I might ever write. Mostly because the film in question is a strange experience, unlike most others. It's simultaneously a brilliant piece of 80’s horror art and an overindulgent mess that never figures itself out outside its influences. Basically, it’s a film where it makes perfect sense for Nicolas Cage to scream, cry, laugh menacingly, and chug a whole bottle of vodka while on the toilet, wearing a tiger t-shirt and his tighty whities. If that sounds horrible to you or if it sounds brilliant to you, you’re right. You can tell within seconds that this movie is going to be a trippy arthouse ride like you’ve never seen before. Anyone familiar with director Panos Cosmatos knows his films are basically like falling through a portal on the side of a heavy metal album cover. It’s a dark 80’s grindhouse fantasy horror fest that is powerfully immersive in ways that most films don’t come close to. Whether you are watching scenes that take place within the Charles Mansonesque Jesus Freak cult, the animated tripfests, or Nicolas Cage chainsaw fighting (yes, you read that right) with a Mad Max style BDSM demon, you will find it nearly impossible to take your eyes off the screen. That’s not to say that what you are watching will entirely be worth that attention. In the end, the film definitely feels like it’s more style over substance. It never feels like it ever reaches the heights that it sets up. It relies too much on cliches from the genre it loves to ever truly be more than a beautiful homage. If you don’t have a special place in your heart for heavy metal music and grindhouse action, there just won’t be much here for you. That’s not to say that the cast doesn’t give their all to prove themselves. Nicolas Cage gives his most insane performance to date. Fans of his from films like “Raising Arizona” or “Adaptation” won’t find that actor here. Fans who love to watch clips of him being a mad-eyed psycho in “The Wicker Man” or “Face/Off” will want to watch this film immediately. The man forges a battle axe and takes on the forces of evil with bloody rage as you’ve never seen before. The film drives into the actor’s wackiness and this time it really works. This is definitely a film that needed Nicolas Cage. Maybe if “Ghost Rider” would’ve embraced the B-movie potential of its star, that film would be more memorable. The rest of the cast is pretty excellent too. Andrea Riseborough shines as the titular Mandy. She brings a unique but grounded style to the character that makes you understand why these men fall in love with her so heavily. Speaking of, Linus Roache’s cult leader Jeremiah Sand might be the best part of the whole movie. Fans of “Vikings” will be pleased to hear that Roache once again throws himself into a creepily sexual role with both feet. It’s hard to match the level of weird Nicolas Cage can bring, but Roache gives him a run for his money. It doesn’t hurt that Jeremiah Sand is the best-written character of the bunch. The rest of the cult members are pitch perfect in their roles. They all look like the director went to a bunch of real-life cults and picked his favorites. Each one brings a different kind of creep factor that really elevates the film. In the end, “Mandy” is a wonderfully made love letter to its genre even if it fails to redefine said genre as much as it potentially could have. Its particular brand of artful bloody wackiness may not be for everyone, but those that love that sort of thing will have one hell of a good ride. **6.0 OR 9.0** _(DEPENDING ON WHICH WAY YOUR BREAD IS BUTTERED)_