MOVIE REVIEW: Mandy

If you want a Nicolas Cage freak-out you get plenty, drowning in blood, cocaine and potent LSD.
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Eight and a half percent of the population are red-green colorblind and will not be able to watch Panos Cosmatos’ latest film “Mandy”.

This stylish, campy horror throwback primarily relies on unnatural red lighting with green flashes, humid amber lights, and ultramarine blue that blend in like watercolors.

The color palette isn’t the only reason to watch this retro horror film, though. The real calling of this film is for those who are a fan of Nicolas Cage’s quiet moments and signature freak-outs.

The story follows Red Miller (Nicolas Cage as the main character and color of this film), a lumberjack who lives in a secluded airy cabin with his artsy girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough).

When an extreme religious cult leader Jeremiah (Linus Roache) finds Mandy, his desire for her is so strong that his cult kidnaps her. When Mandy refuses to be with him, he burns her alive in front of Red. Red will do anything and everything to seek his revenge on everyone responsible for Mandy’s murder.

This movie has a slow quietness that lingers on its characters, suddenly followed by a loud guitar riff that strums in time with slow-motion shots. The score is a throwback to 80s midnight cult films like “Rock and Rule” and “Pink Floyd: The Wall.” The few animation scenes and some of the backgrounds are reminiscent of “Heavy Metal.”

This movie has a lot of red to represent the warmth of love, desire and rage. The scenery has been edited to look like nebulous watercolors, with imagery that could represent LSD or an unearthly homeland.

Everyone’s performance is fantastic. The cult and the motorcycle gang are insane and indulgent enough to question their humanity. Andrea Riseborough as Mandy is mysterious and ethereal. Nicolas Cage brings the tragedy and campiness to the movie. His freak-outs are laughable and satisfying on the extreme ways he comes down on everyone in his way. Want to see Nicolas Cage in a chainsaw duel? He fights a chainsaw with a longer chainsaw.

“Mandy” is campy, but in a classy way that’s reminiscent of Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn (“Drive”, “The Neon Demon”). Interestingly, red and blue are the only colors Refn can see. Check out this stylish phantasmagoria at The Minor Theatre in Arcata.

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