Mandy

Critics Consensus

Mandy's gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage -- and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 230

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,904
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Movie Info

Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.

Cast

Linus Roache
as Jeremiah Sand
Ned Dennehy
as Brother Swan
Olwen Fouéré
as Mother Marlene
Richard Brake
as The Chemist
Bill Duke
as Caruthers
Paul Painter
as Cheddar Goblin
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Critic Reviews for Mandy

All Critics (230) | Top Critics (27) | Fresh (209) | Rotten (21)

Audience Reviews for Mandy

  • Feb 16, 2019
    It may seem odd to review an independent arthouse horror/action film from 2018 starring Nicolas Cage, but Mandy proved to be such a beautiful and bizarre experience that I have to share. Set in 1983, in what is presumably rural California, a lumberjack and his free spirit girlfriend live an idyllic life in a secluded cabin. Trouble comes in the form of a Charles Manson style hippie death cult and a crew of demonic bikers. But this description of the plot tells you nothing about how experimental and artistically striking Mandy is. Most readily apparent are the references to 80's action cinema, the glacial pacing, and the deep color saturation. Yes, there are plenty of grindhouse elements of the era on display with evil motorcyclists, chainsaw duels, cruel axes, gore, and paperback fantasy novel imagery filling out the background. But Panos Cosmatos is aiming a bit higher, as he did with his previous work Beyond the Black Rainbow, albeit in a more conventional and approachable manner here. He successfully places Mandy in that all too difficult genre to pin down – arthouse exploitation. Kubrick and Lynch are easy to identify as inspiration, but one can't help but think of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive and The Neon Demon, especially in terms of color palette. Deep reds and blues highlight the dreamlike mood and fantasy elements, while the scratchy grains on the film itself and other analog imperfections evoke the VHS carnage of yore. Thematically, Mandy proves even more interesting. The protagonist forges a battle axe and swears vengeance in a way that would be portrayed as morally justified in lesser movies. However, this film explicitly states that he is an emissary of either Satan or a cruel, dark god. The bikers are possessed by evil forces themselves, but belong to a DIFFERENT entity. The group that Cage hunts are strongly implied to be a hippie version of a Christian gnostic mystery cult. The easy answer would be that Cosmatos is taking aim at the hypocrisy of Christianity. But the protagonist is warned that his actions are irreversible; his revenge will bring forth an apocalypse. And sure enough, with every soul taken, the sky above fills with cosmic terror. It's a different way of presenting ambiguous morality. Cage is on FIRE on this film, as not every actor can scream in his underwear, on a toilet, guzzling vodka and make it compelling. It's easily his best role in more than a decade. Andrea Riseborough is an ethereal and wounded heroine and her chemistry with Cage was considerable. This could have easily been another throw away female character and somehow she is the most memorable as the titular Mandy. And then there is Linus Roache who absolutely kills it as a would-be Charles Manson. I absolutely love the angle that he is an aging, failed folk singer who didn't quite make it out of the 60's. And that as a total fraud, he neither knows who is f**cking with, what forces he is unleashing, or the very real magical and spiritual words that come out of his mouth as part of his ill-performed sermons and ceremonies. If Cage is an authentic victim unwittingly working for the forces of evil, Roache is an inauthentic villain unwittingly working for the forces of light. If you couldn't figure it out, Mandy is worth a screening. It should be out on home video and streaming services. I'd recommend friends, intoxicants, and an open mind. In the words of YouTuber Nerdwriter1 Mandy is an excuse "to have some f***kin fun."
    Joshua S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2018
    If you know anything about me and my relationship to title screens then you'll know Mandy immediately got serious style points for delaying its title card until after a full hour into the movie. Speaking of that first hour, much of its moody eeriness screams little more than weird for the sake of being weird, but for one reason or another I kind of dug it and was into the construction of this time and place writer/director Panos Cosmatos was piecing together. The second hour, for better or worse, is what you fully expect Mandy to be from the marketing material and the fact it stars a fifty-four year-old Nicolas Cage. I didn't mind it and there are certainly some fantastic looking set pieces throughout as Cage's Red Miller wields an elaborate axe/sword he's forged himself and slices down a black, leather-clad biker gang piece by piece. There isn't much left to be desired with Mandy and yet it still feels as if there is something missing. Audio throughout is a trip though. Anyway, the main takeaway is the fact you best not ruin Cage's favorite shirt. He take's that shit seriously.
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2018
    It is incredibly refreshing to see something that looks so familiar and yet so unique, drawing from a number of inspirations from the 1980s with its astounding score and stylish retro visuals full of lens flares and psychedelic colors, like some mix of Mad Max and Hellraiser on LSD.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2018
    On the one hand the movie delivers on the heavy metal imagery and Nicolas Cage chainsaw fights it promises, on the other hand this is a strangely ponderous piece of work that is also somehow pretentious. I feel like Cosmatos could easily have shaved 30-40 minutes off this by not having every character take 5 minutes to get a single sentence out of their mouths.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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