Mandy – Review
by Anita Markoff
It is difficult to know what to expect from a psychedelic vengeance thriller, but watching Mandy is a beautifully pleasing experience. The synthetic music and mesmerising neon colours meld together to create a surreal atmosphere perhaps akin to that of a really good trip.
The melting of reality into fantasy throughout the plot can be explained by either drug use or spirituality, but neither interpretation detracts meaning from the hero’s journey. There is a critical commentary on fanatical aspects of religion emphasised by the use of ritualised violence, such as nails hammered into hands and swords being used to pierce sides. But beyond that, the film simply functions as a perfect, classic good-triumphs-over-evil story. The supernatural foes are killed with almost comical ease in graphic blood splashed scenes, creating a video game effect as the audience joyfully watches Nicholas Cage pursue and slaughter his unarguably evil enemies. His success in this endeavour, wielding a variety of weapons from a huge shining blade to chainsaws, induces an ecstatic endorphin rush. Violence that would be frightening in any other film is undercut by the lightning-quick humour of a carefully crafted script. Nicholas Cage also gives a brilliant performance, displaying raw emotion. The breakdown scene is comically juxtaposed with a childish ad for macaroni cheese flickering on the tv screen in the background; a reminder that life and its small realities don’t stop for anyone.
Every detail in Mandy is carefully selected to create an entrancing mood. Some of the most tender moments showcase light-sprayed nature scenes filmed with a delicate touch. Even the 80s style intertitles and wistful cartoon sequences are perfectly calculated to add a unique feeling to the film, drawing the viewer further into the dreamscape. In the moment of silence when the credits start rolling, you almost expect the audience to burst into applause.