Published Sep 13, 2018It's truly hard to believe — and actually quite frustrating — that Mandy is only Panos Cosmatos's second feature film. Going beyond its predecessor (the already excellent Beyond the Black Rainbow), Mandy demonstrates a level of confidence, control and cunning that most spend entire careers hoping to achieve.
Soundtracked by a maximalist score from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson (his last work), the film is a beautiful mess of sex cults, biker demons, LSD and plenty of eye-popping gore. Andrea Riseborough stars as the titular character, whose unspeakable beauty sees her torn from the arms of her lover Red Miller (Nicolas Cage at his genre best). When things go south, Red winds up on an acid-guzzling revenge plot that sees him engaging in violent battles with a terrifying underworld, sometimes involving multiple chainsaw fights.
Like Rainbow, Mandy is set in 1983. Where a lesser director would've gone with on-the-nose referencing (see: just about any '80s-set movie or TV series from the last few years), Cosmatos has instead crafted another pop culture relic that will withstand the trends as they come and go.
Yes, there are nods to the past — Heavy Metal-style animation and the Boglin-like Cheddar Goblin come to mind — but mostly Mandy is a heady trip that stands on its own, outside of time and space.
Panos Cosmatos wrote Mandy and Beyond the Black Rainbow simultaneously, and has since claimed that he plans to close this volume of his career before he does, well, whatever he does next. Truth be told, he can make a shitty Lifetime movie for all any of us care. After all, Mandy is the sort of marvel that will likely never be topped.