Mandy ★★½

42/100

Midnight screening with an ideal pumped-up crowd, so "hallucinogenic Death Wish" just isn't my brand of bugfuck, apparently. I can see why this appeals to others, but just didn't have any fun with it myself, and couldn't take it remotely seriously, either—it was just kinda there, leering madly at me for two mostly lugubrious hours. I've now reached a point with Cage where it's more startling to see him rein it in (à la Joe); here, the character might as well be named Nicolas Crazed, and while one can't credibly accuse him of phoning it in, the lunatic spark of invention that animates (almost literally) his best work is absent. Riseborough, on the other hand, is perhaps too quietly creepy for a role that's apparently meant to embody tranquility defiled. As for Cosmatos, his sensibility seems fundamentally adolescent (subset metal/goth), though I do give him credit for patience, at least. He's in no hurry. My friend Bilge's rave calls Mandy "heartbreaking," which suggests that he forged an emotional bond with the central couple, based mostly on clumsy what's-your-favorite-planet? pillow talk, that I decidedly did not. My friend Ben, who was at my screening, spent the whole walk back to our condo seething about how awful it was and threatening his own violent vendetta on the peers who recommended it (including Bilge, who was there and awake when we got home, and did in fact survive) . Can't say I experienced a strong reaction of any kind, sadly. It came and it took without giving, and I sent it away.