In the early 1980s, a man’s goes on a rampage to find his loved one’s killers after dealing with loss, grief and its many stages most definitely including anger. His love for her was all encompassing and nothing will come in the way of his revenge, not even demons.
Based on a story by Panos Cosmatos who co-wrote with Aaron Stewart-Ahn and directed, Mandy is a mayhem-y film that starts mellow and filled with love. It takes its time setting up the relationship and care between Red and Mandy before Mandy gets dispatched, making her someone the viewer can care about and can be attached to before she gets killed. This does also mean that it feels a bit long in the first part before Red gets through his grief and to his revenge. That being said, when the revenge begins, it goes full force, balls to the wall, insane. The film’s last third or so is blood-soaked violent goodness where every and all tools can become a murder weapon that makes a ton of damage.
The film is seemingly created and written to fit its star Nicolas Cage who is allowed to go full Cage and be all that he can be. His usual style of acting befits the film and its story as well as the character of Red once he loses the love of his life. Cage’s style works with the film and is particularly perfect the closer to the end the film gets with all the insanity, violence, and mayhem. Playing his character’s love interest, the lady of life, his other half is Andrea Riseborough who gives an interesting, sort of eerie, sort of aloof performance that creates a character that is easily to go along with, to care about, and to be made when she is eliminated. Giving one of the most impressive performances, one that is magnetic, is Linus Roache as Sand Jeremiah, a tough to catch, hard to kill man who is one of those important ones here. Roache catches the eye right away and creates a character that is fun to watch and see evolved through his levels of evil. The cast overall all give performances that work with the material and level of insanity on the screen.
Mandy is a film with very strong visuals, from the attention to details in décor and lighting, the mood set is something that is all around encompassing. The cinematography by director of photography Bejamin Loeb is fantastic and shows all the attention paid on all levels while creating these stunning images and a very specific look for the film and the first and last thirds in particular. The film has its own colorful, blood-soaked look that works great and keeps the attention on the screen and the action throughout.
The special effects in Mandy are very well planned and executed under special effects supervisor Eric De Wulf. The blood looks right and is plentiful, the kills are great, and the way it’s all executed adds to the visuals and the mayhem.
Mandy is a mostly fun movie but while the character and relationship building is good, it feels like it takes a bit too much time and leaves too little time to the mayhem. The film’s hype and its expectations may cause overly high expectations in terms of the madness and the bloody goodness. It is there, but it ends up feeling like it takes a bit too long before getting to it. A minor gripe, but one that felt like it needed to be brought up as this viewer expected even more violence and mayhem and got some but not quite to the level hoped for.