Mandy: A unique thriller about cults, torture, and revenge

Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films. Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films.

Let’s start this review by reminding moviegoers that Mandy is not for everybody. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s undeniably a unique cinematic experience. It’s most definitely not like any other films you have seen before in theatres. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what to expect. Directed by Panos Cosmatos, known for the visually stunning film Beyond the Black Rainbow, he brings the audience yet another interesting movie that might please both Nicolas Cage fans and genre film enthusiasts.


Mandy is set in the year of 1983, and it’s about a man named Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) who is in a relationship with his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). They both get kidnapped by Jeremiah Sand (played brilliantly by Linus Roache), who’s the leader of a sinister cult titled the Children of the New Dawn. After Red gets brutally tortured by this group of mysterious cultists, he now seeks revenge and plans to kill them. The story is pretty simple and predictable, but the film offers a lot more than just being a clichéd revenge thriller. If you’re expecting Mandy to be an action flick from start to finish, you are going to be disappointed for sure.

Nicolas Cage does a good job playing the main character, even if it’s not really groundbreaking. However, whenever he’s on screen killing people, it’s really entertaining. When his character is feeling angry and sad, he actually does a good job showing his emotions at times. Andrea Riseborough gives an amazing performance as his girlfriend Mandy, and she adds a lot of tension to the story. These two actors actually have good chemistry with each other, and they set up their romance quite well. Linus Roache steals the show as the main antagonist, and he’s one of the most memorable villains ever portrayed on the big screen. You completely understand his motivation, even if he’s a sinister bad guy you don’t want to root for. 

Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films.
Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films.

While Mandy has some great performances from the cast, it’s not a perfect movie. It still doesn’t change the fact that the film is incredibly slow in the first half. Panos Cosmatos is a filmmaker known for appreciating the art of slow-paced cinema, but as you’re watching this, you can easily tell that some scenes can be cut. The second half is undeniably the best part of the movie, because you just want to see Nicolas Cage act crazy and kill some bad guys. Because the plot is pretty straightforward, the director heavily relies on the visuals, cinematography, and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s mesmerizing score to tell Red Miller’s story. This is one of those flicks that makes you feel like you’re on an acid trip while watching it. It’s very vibrant with its distinct colour palette: you will either find it mesmerizing or jarring. There’s nothing more you can do about a guy who just wants to hunt down people, so obviously you have to commend Cosmatos for wanting to add some new elements to this type of movie. It wants to be unique, so the director does succeed in that aspect of it.

Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films.
Mandy. Photo courtesy of Elevation Films.

In the end, Mandy isn’t perfect, but it is quite enjoyable.  If you just want to see Nicolas Cage in a revenge thriller, you might like it, even if it might not be the movie you’re expecting. While it has some slow pacing issues in the beginning, moviegoers will undeniably admit that it’s one of the most unique films they have seen in their lives, which can be a positive or a negative to some people.

Mandy is now playing in theatres.

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About Steven Lee

Ever since he was a kid, Steven has always been passionate about movies. As a fan of Marvel, Star Wars and other geeky franchises, he will always bring you fun and nerdy articles that might pique your interest! More Posts