The following review is from one of my colleagues since the glory days of AICN-Asimovlives!
When Asi highly recommended that I watch Beyond the Black Rainbow by Director Panos Cosmatos, I told him about his new film that has been getting a shitload of buzz!
Mandy featuring Nicolas Cage, is set in the primal wilderness of 1983 where Red Miller, a broken and haunted man hunts an unhinged religious sect who slaughtered the love of his life.
Immediately after watching Mandy, Asi sent me his views and opinions of this indie horror gem.
So let's get to it! Note: The comments have slightly been edited for context.
I have been following Panos Cosmatos career for a while, like every 6 months I refresh his IMDB page to see if he has a new project. All because I’m a big fan of his first movie, BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW. His latest movie must have had a very fast turnaround from unannounced project to ready for release. So, again, thank you!
I had a blast with the movie. I loved it immensely and as with his first, Mandy is a love letter to genre movies of the past. It's a very unusual revenge movie. It follows all the tropes of the revenge movie, but it does it with a panache few dare. And it's so much the better for it.
People often attribute the revenge movie as an 80s thing but in true it became a big thing in the 70s. The difference was attitude. In the 70s a revenge movie would portrait the Revenger as slowly going insane and often the movies ended in a pyrrhic victory to the Revenger, if not a downer ending itself. In the 80s, the movies were completely on the side of the Revenger and always portraited the Revenger as doing the right thing.
Mandy is a curious blend of both attitudes. It's as if you had a plot of an 80s revenge movie done in 70s style. You are going to love it. The movie is set in 1983, which is the same year where the story of Beyond The Black Rainbow is set as well.
The music was composed by the late Johnan Johnasson and It's nothing short of brilliant!
This soundtrack imbues an amazing feel for the film’s moody atmosphere.
I would say, that it's Blade Runneresque in the sense how he music is just right for the imagery.
As for the cinematography, well, it’s damn glorious! Imagine if Suspiria had turned into a revenge movie and you may get what I’m saying because of the aesthetics.
The overall tone of Mandy hearkens back to 70s cinema, for example, the slow pacing, where tension builds and builds and builds and then, builds even more. And then shit explodes like a sliced champagne bottle cork and it's so much the better for it.
What about the acting? Great. Most of the accolades have been given to Nicholas Cage, and he deserves it. He does a damn good acting job. His tendencies to over-act finds a good place in this movie. In fact, he does both, he goes from over-acting to subtle acting depending on the scenes, and it's always right.
But for me, the movie's true acting secret weapons are with Linus Roache and Andrea Riseborough. Starting with Andrea, she is the core and spirit of the movie. She has to be one of the most interesting female characters in recent film history. She actually dominates the first half of the movie. to say you
can't accuse the movie of not developing a character that later dies and kicks the plot proper. She and Cage have fantastic chemistry onscreen to the point you could have a whole movie just dedicated to their sweet cute marriage. One thing i found interesting and fantastic is that Andrea is a very pretty woman yet the movie downplays her looks. She looks like a very realistic female metalhead of the time who is also a fantasy geek. The film doesn't feel the need to glamorize her, and that actually works in the character favor, you will find her prettier for it.
But my man Linus Roache, for me, steals the show as the villain, portraying a prick of a new age Christian religion sect with his own Charles Manson family. Roache plays him as a dangerous yet very pathetic creature, a narcissist so full of himself he can become hilarious were he not a murderous cunt. His seduction scene has to be seen to be believed!
Yeah, I really liked this movie. I need to rewatch it. Yeah!
All the best
Known for his love of Science Fiction and disdain for all things JJ Abrams and Michael Bay well, the outspoken Asi does not hold back when expressing what is wrong with "Geekdom".