It’s been a good year for gonzo Nicolas Cage. He got to go all psycho in Mom and Dad, and now, courtesy of director Panos Cosmatos, he gets his best role in a half-decade in psychedelic ’80s horror-throwback Mandy.
Cage plays Red Miller, a lumberjack living a good life in the Northwest with his wife, Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough). Their world is overturned by a Manson-like religious sect led by a crazed prophet, Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). Jeremiah wants to recruit Mandy for his cult, but when she has an unfavorable reaction to the folk album he recorded, things get really bad.
Enter Cage, in loony/pissed-off mode, as the second half of the movie gets super-crazy and super-gory. This movie contains what will go down as one of the all-time-great Cage moments—a bathroom tantrum that involves a Leaving Las Vegas-like vodka chug and crazed weeping on the toilet. It’s one of those movies where Cage is allowed to do or say whatever pops into his head, and we get some great, weird lines out of him.
We also get one of Cage’s most fiercely honest performances. His craziness and oddness are fueled by pure emotional destruction, and as “out there” as the movie gets, Cage somehow remains grounded in a consistent, flawless performance. He’s not going to win any Oscars for this, but his cult-film cred just took a major uptick. Kudos go to Roache, who does evil cowardice well, and Riseborough, who makes quite the impression in her abbreviated screen time.
This contains the final score from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, and it’s a doozy. It’s safe to say you have never really seen anything like Mandy, and you won’t again.
Mandy is available via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.