Plot: Red (Nicolas Cage) lives a quiet,isolated life in the woods with his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), passing the time doing some logging and just enjoying time with his beloved. The two have been through a lot, but life has been good since they found each other and without question, the couple are soulmates. But their serene existence is threatened when a crazed cult of bikers crosses paths with Mandy, as she catches the attention of their leader Jeremiah (Linus Roache). He becomes obsessed with her and orders his followers to abduct her, so the cult storms Red’s place, tortures him, and kidnaps his true love. Faced with a loss he can’t imagine enduring, Red takes aim at the cult, but can one man take down the entire sadistic operation?
Entertainment Value: Mandy is like a cinematic acid trip, the kind of visual mayhem and atmospheric mind melter you’d expect from Panos Cosmatos, who offered a similar experience with Beyond the Black Rainbow. Despite a lot of attention drawn by the presence of Nicolas Cage, the real draw of Mandy is the atmosphere, as it is so wild and beautiful, like an 80s fantasy poster come to life. This includes vivid, melting colors and almost alien landscapes, as well as all kinds of visual tricks to ensure the sights of the movie never fail to capture the imagination. The pace is on the slow burn side, but the visuals are so remarkable, the film never feels slow and there’s always something to soak in. Cage is fun in the lead role, but his freak out level is rather low, just some yelling and a few manic facial expressions. So if your sole interest is Cage’s outlandish presence, you might be a little let down here. But he does dial things up a little in a few scenes, I just wish he had been fully unleashed, as the otherworldly atmosphere would sustain a bombastic performance, I think. Although Cage is more restrained than expected, the movie overall is well crafted, gorgeous at times, and an effective thriller, so if you’re interested, take a trip with Mandy.
A man’s cock & balls can be seen at length, but aside from that and an obscured porn video on a television, no sleaze or direct sexual content in this one. But while the sleaze is minimal, there’s a healthy selection of violence on tap and though a good deal of it takes place off screen, there’s also some fun bloodshed. Red is tortured and that results in some light red stuff, but it is his rampage that delivers the real gore. This includes decapitations, a ceremonial weapon deep throated with splashy results, a nasty, epic throat slash with Cage’s hilarious response, some assorted stab wounds and other minor bits of violence. As I said, a lot of the violence happens off screen, which is a shame, but at least some of the bloodshed is visible. And when that includes a man’s head crushed by vise-like hands, that’s a win. The dialogue has some wild moments, most of which come from Red and Jeremiah, sometimes even in banter between the two. Cage’s delivery is over the top and fun, while the pretentious and mystical lingo is also fun to laugh at. In terms of general craziness, Mandy has a consistently trippy vibe, but rarely spins up the madness to surreal or outrageous levels. Red’s rampage has some bright spots, the Cheddar Goblin is humorous, and some of Cage’s outbursts are wild, but overall this one is more trippy than insane.
Overall Insanity: 5/10
The Disc: RLJE Films issued Mandy on Blu-ray and the movie looks fantastic, as you’d expect given the wild and creative visuals on showcase. The sights of Mandy are one of the main draws and look great in high definition, especially the intense, vivid colors that stream and melt across the screen. I found detail to be quite good as well, so this is a sizable step up from the DVD. The image looks just as Cosmatos intended, which is all we can ask. The extras include a behind the scenes featurette and some deleted & extended sequences.