Mandy (2018 film)
Mandy is a 2018 action horror film directed by Panos Cosmatos and co-written by Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn. A co-production of the United States and Canada, the film stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, and Bill Duke. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2018, and was theatrically released on September 14, 2018 by RLJE Films. Mandy received critical acclaim, with praise directed at its style, its originality, Cage's performance and the action sequences.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Panos Cosmatos|
|Story by||Panos Cosmatos|
|Music by||Jóhann Jóhannsson|
|Edited by||Brett W. Bachman|
|Distributed by||RLJE Films|
|Box office||$1.3 million|
Somewhere near the Shadow Mountains in the year 1983, Red Miller lives with his girlfriend, artist Mandy Bloom, in a cabin near the lake. Red works as a logger, while Mandy has a day job as a cashier at a nearby gas station in the woods. She creates elaborate fantasy art, and Red admires her work greatly. They lead a quiet and reclusive life, and their conversations and behavior hint at a difficult past and psychological hardship. Red appears to be a recovering alcoholic, and Mandy recounts traumatic childhood experiences.
On her way to work, Mandy walks past a van carrying the Children of the New Dawn, a deviant hippie cult led by Jeremiah Sand. Sand is struck by Mandy's charm and orders one of his disciples, Brother Swan, to kidnap Mandy with the help of the Black Skulls, a demonic biker gang with a taste for human flesh and a liquid, highly potent form of LSD.
At night, Swan drives out to the lake and summons the Black Skulls by blowing a mystical horn. After Swan offers them a low-ranking member of the cult as a sacrifice, they break into the couple's home and subdue Mandy and Red. The two female members of the cult, Mother Marlene and Sister Lucy, drug Mandy with LSD and venom from a giant black wasp before presenting her to Sand. Sand – a failed musician – attempts to seduce Mandy with his psychedelic folk music, telling her that God had told him to take anything he wanted. Mandy ridicules him, leaving him confused and infuriated. Seeking revenge, Sand has Red tied by his wrists with barbed wire and stabbed, then has Mandy burned alive in front of him. After nothing but ash remains of Mandy, Sand and his followers leave. Red frees himself, goes back inside and falls asleep, exhausted and in shock. After waking up from a nightmare, he consumes a bottle of vodka, tends to his wounds, and shrieks in agony, grief, and rage.
In the morning, Red fetches "the reaper," his crossbow, from his friend Caruthers. Caruthers provides him with freshly crafted arrows and information on the Black Skulls. According to Caruthers, the Black Skulls may have been a group of couriers for a drug manufacturer who were psychiatrically disturbed by a bad batch of LSD, rendering them murderously sadomasochistic. Before Red leaves, Caruthers warns him that his odds of survival are poor. Red forges a battle axe and hunts down the bikers. He is able to successfully run down one and kill him, but he is captured in the process. At their hideout, Red manages to break free and kill the remaining bikers, and he consumes some of their cocaine and tainted LSD, causing him to instantly and severely hallucinate.
Seeking out a radio tower he envisioned earlier, Red encounters The Chemist, a mysterious drug manufacturer, who tells him where to find the Children of the New Dawn. At their makeshift wooden church in a quarry, Red kills Brothers Swan and Hanker with his axe and kills Brother Klopek in a chainsaw duel, sparing only the life of Sister Lucy. Traversing the tunnels beneath the church, Red finds Mother Marlene and kills and decapitates her. He then finds Sand, taunting him by rolling out Marlene's severed head. Sand begs for mercy, but Red kills him by crushing his skull. He sets the church on fire and watches Sand's body burn before driving away, envisioning Mandy in the passenger seat of his car, while the landscape behind him now appears fantastical and otherworldly.
- Nicolas Cage as Red Miller
- Andrea Riseborough as Mandy Bloom
- Linus Roache as Jeremiah Sand
- Bill Duke as Caruthers
- Richard Brake as The Chemist
- Ned Dennehy as Brother Swan
- Olwen Fouéré as Mother Marlene
- Hayley Saywell as Sis
- Line Pillet as Sister Lucy
- Clément Baronnet as Brother Klopek
- Alexis Julemont as Brother Hanker
- Stephan Fraser as Brother Lewis
- Ivailo Dimitrov as Skratch
- Kalin Kerin as Scabs
- Tamás Hagyuó as Fuck Pig
- Paul Painter as Cheddar Goblin
Legion M, an entertainment studio that allows fans to invest in and be part of the creation of films, is a production partner for Mandy and hosted a panel discussion featuring director Panos Cosmatos and others at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. Nicolas Cage made a surprise appearance at the event.
The trailer was released on June 27, 2018.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 94% based on 166 reviews, and an average rating of 7.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Mandy's gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage — and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Reviewing the film after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com praised the movie, writing that "for all of the endless feral performances that Cage has given, in movies good, bad and forgettable, Cosmatos’ style-driven, ‘80s-tastic passion for weird worlds and characters takes full advantage of Cage’s greatness, and then some."
In a five-star review for Dirty Movies, Stephen Lee Naish called the film "a blood soaked revenge caper" praising Cosmatos for his "masterful approach" that "aligns him with Kubrick and Lynch in delivering perfectly believable and fully realized worlds and characters that operate within their own laws of physics." Meanwhile, film critic Christopher Stewardson said the film "is sure to become a cult favourite all of its own"
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