Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Review: Mandy

Director: Panos Cosmatos

Screenplay: Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn

Year: 2018

Red and Mandy are a young couple that seems to be perfect for one another and lives their best times as a couple. One night, as Mandy walks through a rural area, she catches the attention of the leader of a hippie cult. Determined to get her, the leader of the cult summons some cyclist demons to kidnap her. 

The demons achieve their objective of kidnapping Mandy (Andrea Riseborough; “Oblivion”) and take her to Jeremiah (Linus Roache; ”Batman Begins”), the cult leader. However, Red (Nicholas Cage; “Color Out of Space”) doesn't stay idly by, and he arms himself with a crossbow and an ax and goes out to save his loved one. Jeremiah's obsession in having a woman that doesn't correspond to him unleashes in Red an enraged wave of violence against anyone that crosses his path.

"Mandy" can easily be split into two parts: the first one where the problem develops and a second one where total madness unfolds. These two halves also have very different rhythms. The first half is insufferably slow, but the madness of the second half saves it.

One of the reasons for the rhythm of the movie being so slow, especially in the first half, that lasts for about an hour, is the preference of the director Panos Cosmatos (“Beyond the Black Rainbow”) in using long shots that linger around for longer than what is necessary just for the artistic value. Similarly, several scenes are put in that have absolutely no value for the plot but seem to be there to enhance the visuals. About 30 minutes could have been trimmed down by removing these scenes and unnecessary takes, and the result would have been a much more focused product with a better rhythm. For example, the whole stretch involving Richard Brake (“Perfect Skin”; “Feedback”) makes no sense in the movie and could have easily been eliminated without harm.

The second half is where “Mandy” really stands out. If you thought it was crazy after reading the plot summary, I could assure you that this doesn’t come close to what is shown. The character interpreted by Nicholas Cage is the center of attention during this second half, where the over-the-top acting that we know from Cage fits perfectly with the plot development. And then there is the violence and gore, equally over-the-top and nicely presented, and there couldn’t have been less in a movie where you have cyclist demons that watch pornography and consume cocaine.

“Mandy” errs on the side of an insufferably slow first half and from having takes and scenes that only add to its runtime and nothing useful for the plot. However, the second half moves in a way faster rhythm, where violence and gore take center stage, accompanied by the madness that is the plot. The ‘80s horror cinema style with synth music and the excessive use of lights in the red and purple part of the spectrum gives it a unique style but feel pretentious when long scenes contributing little to the plot are showcased.

No comments:

Post a Comment