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by Panos Cosmatos

Nicolas Kim Coppola, otherwise known as Nicolas Cage, is a gift. A gift from whom, I do not know. I understand that he does every movie offered to him now because of his tax situation. However, you can see the difference in projects that he enjoys doing and the ones he's phoning in on. Mandy is definitely one of the ones he had fun with.

Mandy is the second movie by Panos Cosmatos. His debut film, Beyond the Black Rainbow has reached cult status and introduced us to his visually appealing style and bizarre realities. Mandy is no different. It's a delight to look at. You could mute this movie and just watch the marriage of colors and framing. It reminded me so much of how Dario Argento used color in his films like Suspiria. I kind of wish Panos Cosmatos had remade Suspiria, then we wouldn't have gotten the oatmeal blandness that we did, but I digress.

As much as you film nerds would love to hear me breakdown the cinematography and color design, we all know why you're here. It's Nicolas Cage. People flock to this man because of his wacky persona and charismatic presence. With Cage you could get stellar performances like in Lord of War, Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas or you could end up with goofy Cage like Vampire's Kiss. Then there's Nicolas “Just shut up and give me my money, I've got bills” Cage as seen in gems like Left Behind and Wicker Man. We totally got lucky this time and got a combination of emoting, amazing, acting Cage and goofy, wide eyed, screaming Cage. This was a performance a long time coming, and it made me so happy!

Now I hear you screaming, “WHAT ABOUT THE PLOT!” Shush. I am getting there. The plot is simple: revenge. This is a revenge film of the highest caliber. Red, played by Cage, is a logging man who lives in his quaint home with his girlfriend, Mandy. While out walking to her job at a five & dime, she is spotted by Jeremiah Sands, this weird cult leader. I wouldn't call six people a “cult,” but we're gonna go with it. Sands has these demon bikers kidnap Mandy and Red and when Mandy laughs at Jeremiah Sands, his terrible music, his ego, and his penis, he kills her in front of Red. Then the second part of this roller coaster starts up and it is a wild ride.

Looking at some of the reviews I can say that this movie is a polarizing film. You loved it or you hated it. I just saw one star reviews and five star reviews. I have never seen anything like this before. It is a definite split. I am in the camp of love, which is also the underlying theme of this movie, love and loss. Sands wants love because he thinks it's his God given right. Red and Mandy have a true love that reaches beyond loss. It's really beautiful.

I'm not going to lie, I went into this expecting a “NOT THE BEEES” Nic Cage and got an emotional, bat-shit insane performance from not only Cage but the rest of the cast. This is now in my top five movies of 2018 and probably in the top ten of all time. It's a movie that pulls at your heart, rips it out, shoves a giant stinging bug in it, and rams it down your throat. It's great!

Mandy is available to rent on Prime and it's eventually coming to Shudder. This is definitely a must see!

Robin Thompson, HMS

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