“You are a vicious snowflake.”
I find it difficult to write off Mandy, despite my many reservations on the film. Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ’80s inspired score is a thing of beauty for starters, that ’80s vibe carrying through into every stylistic choice taken. Benjamin Loeb’s cinematography lends itself to the B-movie flavour, and a VHS grain covers the screen. This, undoubtedly, is singularly focussed filmmaking from director Panos Cosmatos. The jewel in the crown is Nicolas Cage, who cuts loose from reality as only he can. It’s a big performance in every sense of the word.
And yet I found myself put off by Mandy on several levels. It’s an unfalteringly slow-burner. For its first half, it meanders between ponderous, borderline self-indulgent long shots of Cage’s Red and Andrea Riseborough’s Mandy staring at each other. With the introduction of a cult more bizarre than you’ll likely be able to imagine it tips past its point of no return, kicking up a gear to become something else entirely; a brutally bloody onslaught of abuse, torture and murderous vengeance; violent and grim in every respect. I like a revenge story as much as the next person…but it’s all a bit much.
Well-made, deeply off-putting, thoroughly strange cinema.
Rating (out of 5):