by Patrick Bromley
There will never be another Nicolas Cage. Sure, he takes a lot of shit these days for making so many movies and exercising what appears to be very little quality control. He's also been embraced ironically over the last decade or so by hipsters who "love" Nicolas Cage because he goes so big so often. Yeah, no shit Nicolas Cage is great, guys. They might as well be professing their love for bacon or Jeff Goldblum. There's nothing impressive about it.
What is so great about Cage -- and there was a time he was without question my favorite actor -- is that he's willing to take chances no other actor would take. Sometimes it's in a performance, whether it's doing a Pokey impression in Peggy Sue Got Married or shouting the entire alphabet in Vampire's Kiss. Sometimes it's in his choice of material. I can't think of another A-list, Academy Award-winning actor who would read the screenplay for Mandy and not just understand director Panos Cosmatos' wavelength, but be on it as well. When he's on his game, Nicolas Cage is a gift.
The story is the standard stuff of revenge tales: Red (Cage) lives a happy, quiet life in the mountains with his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough). She is kidnapped by a religious cult led by Sand Jeremiah (Linus Roache) and eventually killed before Red's eyes. He goes out for revenge. It's Death Wish meets Race With the Devil but with Hellraiser thrown in, too, all filtered through Cosmatos' colorful, wild, hallucinatory style. It's a crazy movie, for sure, but anyone looking for more action-packed, kicky B-movie fun like, say, Drive Angry, most likely won't have the patience for Mandy. This is a movie that takes its time, that holds on shots and allows us to absorb them, that lives in its moments both peaceful and nightmarish. Again, it's an experience.
Mandy opens theatrically in limited release and will be on VOD platforms tomorrow, September 14.