Film Review: Mandy

Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy is quite the trip. At its best moments, the film is dazzling.

Red and Mandy live an idyllic existence in their secluded home in the forest. When a nefarious group crosses them, the couple are plunged into a nightmare… 

Director and co-writer Panos Cosmatos has crafted a revenge thriller with its own unique flair. The premise is fairly simple, but there are plenty of aspects that make the film memorable. The narrative is broken into chapters of varying length. Mandy starts with a laconic pace, setting the scene, ambience and the main characters. The pace increases after first third, as director asks viewers to surrender to the mania. 

The art direction is most striking. The use of colour and lighting give the film a distinctive look, and the cinematography offers some great framing. Allegory is important in the film, and this is exhibited throughout. The opening titles immediately set the tone, and hints towards the era. The film is very much in the mode of an 80s B movie, revelling in this style. The advert featured perfectly exemplifies the demented nature of the film. Sound in Mandy is equally striking, with Jóhann Jóhannson’s score enveloping viewers into a strange and unsettling world. 

Like Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad earlier this year, director utilises Cage most effectively. Patience is the name of the game, and other characters take centre stage to begin with. Viewers have to wait for Nicolas Cage to go full throttle, and when he does, it is glorious. There isn’t really another actor with the same energy as him, and it is really something to watch. Andrea Riseborough is as good as ever. Linus Roache plays the part of Jeremiah well. 

Despite the simplicity of the plot, Mandy is a striking and memorable film. It is quite the ride.

Mandy is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018.

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