Movies The O.D. on Movies

The O.D. on Movies: Mandy

Rulerofowls and Highbrowl went to see Mandy this past week, a movie written and directed by Panos Cosmatos, which stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, and Linus Roache. The movie takes place in 1983 and follows Red, a lumberjack whose girlfriend Mandy is taken by a crazy cult leader.

  • ROW: So, we finally got to see Mandy. We’ve heard so many good things about this movie, since its release and first showings; it created a real buzz around the movie, and we were both pretty excited to see if it lived up to it, as well as experiencing the reason for all this buzz…
  • HB: Yeah, because we both stayed away from any real discussion about the movie, trailers, and specific praise, in order to experience the movie in its own merit.
  • ROW: I’m sorry but, I always wanted to say this: The BUZZ is REAL! I absolutely adored this movie; it is insanely creative in its visual presentation and use of colors and props, it got one of the best performances out of Nicolas Cage that I’ve seen for a good while (if not his best ever), it’s an excellent blend of genres and ideas that are simultaneously “stoning” the viewer and filling them with adrenaline, it has got one of the best scores I’ve experienced in a movie this year; it’s just excellent and my favorite of the year so far!
  • HB: Yep, I’m right there with you; this movie is not for everyone and was never meant to be this huge blockbuster that would break box offices around the globe. A lot of people will walk out of the theater, a lot will yawn and be bored out of their minds; but it worked for both of us, and we’re both really excited about what’s next from Cosmatos, Cage, and the rest of the creative team behind this!
  • ROW: I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a theater so reinvigorated and excited about what I just saw; it was probably Mad Max: Fury Road, a couple of years back, and Cosmatos is a big reason why…
  • HB: He directed the shit out of this movie, which is impressive on its own, but outstanding when you consider that this movie is basically two opposite movies, smashed into one; the first half is this “mindfuck”, Lynch-esque, fever dream, where nothing makes complete sense, yet it’s coherent enough that it does not distract or disappoint, and it’s just weird, beautiful imagery and strange scenes that feel like experiencing 5 hours in 10 minutes; the second half is this 80s metal album cover, action-thriller thing, which feels like it was written by an angsty teen but in the best way possible, and serves as a release of tension and an adrenaline-filled, chaotic end.
Rock till you drop P.C.
  • ROW: That’s a pretty good summary of this movie, but it’s not as disjointed as it sounds; these segments flow brilliantly, and considering how purposefully bizarre this movies is, it is a testament to the amazing job done by the editors because the movie feels coherent in its own psychedelic, drug-induced way.
  • HB: At some point, I had a very surreal moment where I literally felled stoned out of my mind and felt like the movie just breezed through me while I did not feel like I understood what was going on or remembering the “facts” of the movie, yet I can remember everything about this movie and I feel reasonably confident that I understood enough of it to have my own opinions; I was literally left with my mouth opened for large portions of this movie.
  • ROW: I get what you mean, and I think a huge part of that is the soundtrack; Johan Johannsson created this beautiful mix of synth and rock tracks that give you this numbness and create that “pleasant” headache you get from rock concerts, which helped the movie lure you in its trance state, and then allowed it to explode with fury and venom for the ‘second’ part.
  • HB: Obviously, we won’t get into details or specific examples for this movie, because experiencing it with as little knowledge is the best way to watch it; what I will say though, is that there are some adrenaline-fueled scenes that conjure the “gods of cool” and instinctively make you laugh—not because it’s funny, but as a coping mechanism for how awesome it is!
  • ROW: This is where Nicolas Cage’s performance shines; for all the memes and the outlandish performances he has gifted us throughout the years, it’s been a long time since his intensity and eagerness to give it all, has been allowed to flourish in a movie that holds the same values and energy levels. In the hands of a less-abled actor, the absurd and full-forced tonal/genre shift, would be too mellow or too absurd to work, but Cage allows the movie to run wild in the end.
  • HB: Just to be clear though: The movie does shift to a more “active” style, but the imagery are still deep purple (pun absolutely intended) and vibrant orange as the rest of the movie, which is even more impressive in the “active” style. Benjamin Loeb (director of photography) does an excellent job in this movie, but also does an excellent job as a magician because some of the camera tricks in this movie are not only thematically and visually appropriate, they’re simply witchcraft!
  • ROW: Speaking of which, the set design—especially in the second half—is truly impressive, so props to that department as well. But, yeah that’s as much as I’m willing to say on this movie, because anything else might ruin a few moments that are best left to surprise.
  • HB: I would like to mention that, this might not be a movie for you; either you’ll adore this movie—as we did—or you’ll walk out the theater around the halfway point, fed up by the slow pace and the illogical nature of it. It’s not a surefire blockbuster that will please most people; it’s a pretty unique and daring movie, highly personal and requiring the viewer to, not only go along, but enjoy certain divisive decisions. But, once again, you’re better served at least giving something you find kind of interesting a chance, rather than simply dismissing it; if you are all in for this movie, then go experience what is bound to be one of your favorite experiences of the year!

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