By Louise Agostino.
Mandy is a new film by director Panos Cosmatos, who employs a similar hallucinatory dream-like atmosphere as in his debut film Beyond the Black Rainbow.
Mandy came out at this year’s BFI and a week later finding itself in independent cinemas.
Well for starters I had to have paracetamol after the pounding film score by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) whom the film dedicated itself to at the end credits. Like a teddy bears picnic gone horribly wrong, Jóhannsson employs something akin to the Italian horror maestro band Goblin and even employs the whimsy of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Jóhannsson makes this quite unique.
Basic really, Mandy presents a couple in love. Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) who looks a lot like Shelly Duvall From The Shinning and Red (Nicholas Cage). Mandy and Red are so comfortable with each other’s skin that communication is arbitrary but being almost telepathic, gives the couple a better insight into each other’s core emotions and existence.
Mandy and Red live in a secluded area away from civilization. Their house looks like a 80s greenhouse furnished with wood and a small telly. Enduring a pattern of symbolic dreams bridging from childhood and foreseeing the future, Mandy knows something is foreboding. They don’t really talk about it but you can see the anguish through their communications. It is also unclear why they live there although Red remarks they should leave, they don’t (classic horror trope). The film gets dark after Mandy witnesses a car of strange degenerates, which takes the narrative to a clearly illogical journey. Determining the next series of outcomes.
Since the backstory is so minimal, Mandy (the film) has so much more personality going on. It is the congealing of its imagination and the score, which Panthos uses and makes Mandy a gut-wrenching horror experience, both poetic and strange. The acting is also sparing and played down. It is a role perfect in the hands of Cage. When he does give the audience raw emotion it is delightful and quite manically hilarious. Riseborough on the other hand, has some serious inner emotions. It is through her eyes that gleam with fear and brings out the seriousness and disgust to this story. As a couple they are believable and what you would expect from a couple crazy in love.
Mandy is a film that runs off adrenalin. Assuming you are going for the right reasons will go nuts for this hectic nightmare.
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