Mandy ★★★★

Although I immediately preferred the atmosphere of this to Beyond the Black Rainbow, this suffers from a lot of the same issues. The most prominent of these is being able to click with Cosmatos' syrupy, sludgy pacing and film-making style. In this, it gelled a little better due to a naturalistic feeling compared to the sterile nature of Black Rainbow. A lot of this is due to the incredible, one-of-a-kind visuals that will no doubt be copied down the line by new filmmakers. The movie seems like it almost evaporated out of colors; every scene is made almost entirely of 2 colors saturating every inch of it. This extreme style choice will probably turn off a lot of people, but I found it's use so carefully measured that is was incredibly effective.

The movie picks up significantly after the midpoint, though this is mainly due to a complete 180 in style. What starts out as a atmospheric, hazy type of movie becomes a gritty, scummy grindhouse movie. Since I enjoy the former sometimes and usually love the latter they combined into a wonderful flow. Throughout the movie, however, is a wonderful sense of humor and awareness about itself, from the deadly serious/bordering on parody tone to weird little moments (no one will ever forget Cheddar Goblin). Little comedy moments clash with the artsy, meditative style; but this just makes things even funnier and more strange. Especially in the cult leader's performance, almost effortlessly switching from imposing menace to a sobbing, whiny loser. Speaking of performances, Cage is of course legendary in this role. The sheer presence he brings in the later half is palpable, like you could see him take the place of Beowulf or depictions of an ancient god. I'm biased since I love him so much, but I really do think he was fantastic.

The gore is actually not as frequent as people seem to bring up a lot, but it's used effectively if sparingly. A lot of it comes from anticipation; from Cage making the axe to encountering each person we know the outcome, we just don't know how he'll do it. There's so much more to mention, just to pare it down this is a singular movie and I'm now quite a lot more interested to see what Cosmatos does next.

Johnny liked this review