Mandy ★★★½

The sophomore feature from Italian-Canadian filmmaker Panos Cosmatos, ‘Mandy’ feels like a frenzied escalation over his narcotic Cronenberg riff 'Beyond the Black Rainbow' (2010). Just as baffling as the director's first film but suffused with an ineffable air of doom and madness, 'Mandy' is a straightforward revenge tale at bottom, rendered with all the subtlety of a 'Heavy Metal' magazine cover. The first hour proceeds dreamily yet ominously, as lumberjack Red (Nicholas Cage) and artist Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) enjoy an offbeat marital bliss in their forest hideaway. Unfortunately, a local doomsday cult leader (Linus Roache) has set his eye on Mandy, and when the dust and ashes clear, the left-for-dead Red sets out to spill blood and cleave heads. Like the PCP-addled love child of a prog rock concept album and a doom metal music video, 'Mandy' eschews rationality for the Rule of Cool, but Cosmatos presents every splatter of batshit weirdness with such ecstatic panache, it’s hard not to be seduced.

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