Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

The Scene: “Mandy” is a must see

Not that this is the most out there of opinions, but I fucking love Nicolas Cage for the most obvious of reasons. He’s the acting equivalent to the guitar amps Spinal Tap uses because they can be cranked up to 11. He is Hollywood’s ultimate poster-boy for playing loose cannons, which is why he was perfectly cast in Panos Cosmatos’ haunting, drug-fueled revenge film “Mandy.”

Now, I’m not going to spoil any of the moments where he goes to 11  (rest assured, there are many, and they’re absolutely wonderful), but Cosmatos’ story gives an emotional weight to Cage’s beautifully off-the-rails performance — a compliment to his acting skills that other directors rarely provide him. The story is simple enough, Red Miller (played by Cage) seeks revenge on a group of sadistic and LSD-fried cultists led by Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roche) after they brutally murder his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) — but it’s emotionally satisfying and acts as a pretense for some absolutely stunning cinematography.

Cosmatos’ and cinematographer Benjamin Leob’s collective sense of atmosphere is nothing short of stunning, sublime and brutal bright red and blue camera tints, juxtaposed with obscuring blackness and a druggy blurriness. “Mandy” often feels like a potent blend between a reminiscence of ‘60s psychedelia and metal straight out of the ‘80s Satanic panic, something akin to the lovechild of “Green Room” and “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” if it grew up exclusively listening to Judas Priest’s “Painkiller.” And speaking of music, the movie’s backed up beautifully with  Jóhann Jóhannson’s last ever soundtrack — he passed away in February — and an unforgettable opening credits scene featuring King Crimson’s eerily warm “Starless.”  “Mandy” is a movie as concerned with atmosphere as it is, if not more than, story.

In short, “Mandy” is fucking awesome — yes I know this is cheap praise, but I love this movie so much I frankly don’t care — and easily slated to be one of my favorite films of the year. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another movie this graphic and intense, but what’s rarer, I think, is a movie as fun as this.

Andy Kilbride, a Staff Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at AKilbride21@wooster.edu.

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