I may have found the film that epitomises what it’s like to be slightly intoxicated, and that film is Mandy. The trippy revenge thriller from 2018 was a cinematic experience of a different kind. It houses some delicious visuals, and a role that Nicolas Cage was born to play. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I had very little notion of what was actually happening for the most part.
The film focuses on the lives of a couple enjoying the quiet life in a secluded forest. Or at least that’s the case until a hippie cult rocks up and, along with their demon biker henchmen (yes), desecrate that picture-perfect relationship. It then falls upon Red (Nicolas Cage) to seek the revenge they deserve.
Mandy blew my mind if I’m being totally honest
The film is a strange experience but in the best ways imaginable. What hits you first is the hypnotic visuals and vivid colours that are a mainstay from start to finish. It combines pretty much every colour of the rainbow with high-contrast imagery and creates some stunning silhouettes. The lighting played a huge part in this, and made for a wonderful stage for so many of the film’s set pieces, especially in the latter half.
One of the weirdest things that struck me whilst I was watching the film was the power it holds over the viewer. Mandy wraps you up and carries you with it. It is slow, quiet, and very deliberate with everything it does – especially the things that don’t immediately make sense.
The best way to describe the film is that it is like a dream. The events and the way in which they are structured make it feel like you’re sleepwalking though the story. In fact, as I mentioned at the start, it was almost like I was slightly intoxicated. Everything moves in what feels like slow motion – wide shots that very slowly zoom in; transitions that are so gradual you almost don’t notice them. I could see what was happening, and lacked a true understanding of it, but I was perfectly okay with that. It was just nice to be along for the ride.
Maybe he’s born with it
This is without a doubt the most Nicolas Cage role we’ve ever seen Nicolas Cage play. Although he doesn’t feature much until the second half of the film, when he gets going, he takes it from 0-60 real quick. I didn’t realise watching the man chugging vodka in his tighty-whities was something I needed, but Mandy showed me otherwise. It was phenomenal. Think back to his performance as Castor Troy in Face/Off and times that by ten, and that’s pretty much what you get here.
As for the film’s climax, it’s very much like the final level of a video game. It’s terrifically violent, and delivers some truly brutal deaths whilst making our protagonist look like a total badass. Very often, these final showdowns aren’t as satisfying as they hope to be, but here – the creativity with which the violence is unleashed, and the overall maniacal spirit that takes over Red’s entire being – Mandy doesn’t put a foot wrong. It brings complete closure. We aren’t threatened with any sequels or anything that dilutes everything that just unfolded, the film simply gives a nod to say that revenge has been served, and then it ends. Lovely stuff!
A journey I’d happily embark on again
Whilst I didn’t have a total grasp on every single part of the film, Mandy was a very enjoyable experience that I will have no problem with revisiting in future. It delivers on everything, and the more you just go with it, the greater the journey will be. It’s a must-see for Nic Cage fans as it’s some of the best work he’s done in years, and in terms of how visually stunning a film can be, it really sets the bar high. The dream-like vibe the entire production has is completely hypnotic and very hard to tear yourself away from. It’s very different to what I’d usually go in for, but is proof that ‘different’ is not something that should be shunned.