Filmmaker Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” is batshit crazy — and that is meant as the high compliment possible. This 120-minute hallucination into dreamy hell is visually stunning, and unlike anything, you’ve ever seen before. Yes, there are midnight movie tropes in the film; a chainsaw battle, an atmospheric soundtrack, and Nicolas Cage going completely bonkers by chugging a bottle of whiskey and snorting “cult coke,” but this revenge story, concocted from the deepest parts of Cosmatos’ subconscious, is a unique brand of trippy surrealism.
Set in the early ’80s, the story finds Mandy Bloom (Cage) and his girlfriend Red (Andrea Riseborough) leading a loving and peaceful existence in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest. However, when a satanic cult captures Red, “Mandy” turns into a journey filled with bloody vengeance, and it’s all served by Cosmatos on a plate of hellfire, and brimstone. The result is incredibly hypnotic, an instant cult classic, driven by a death-metal score courtesy of the late brilliant mind of composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who passed away earlier this year.
Cosmatos’ psychedelic visuals will stay etched in your memory for days as the 44-year-old director delivers on the potential he showed in his 2010 debut “Beyond the Black Rainbow” and then some. We briefly spoke to the filmmaker about how the idea of “Mandy” came to be, his collaboration with Jóhannsson and letting Nicolas Cage just do his thing on-screen.