Mandy by Juan Miguel Martinez
Panos Cosmatos seems like a cool dude with whom to watch movies. His father, George Cosmatos, directed two Stallone classics, “Cobra” and “First Blood”, as well as the 90’s cowboy classic, “Tombstone”. He grew up knowing the straightforward mechanisms of popcorn flicks, but was clearly drawn to films that delved deeper into the human psyche. His first film, “Beyond the black rainbow”, which has influences and elements from “Logan’s run” and “2001 : A space odyssey”, was an exercise in hallucinatory color palettes and pacing so languid, you feel as if the film has been paused at times. This is a good quality.
“Mandy” is his second offering and has a completely different ethos but a similar spirit. While “Rainbow” was clearly made with a filmmaker’s vision, “Mandy” is made with the ears of a metal head. The references to bands like Celtic Frost and Emperor run throughout, as well as 1981’s animated “Heavy Metal”, and are set against a menacing forest in the pacific northwest. The story is relatively simple – Nicolas Cage’s character, Red, is something of a recovering alcoholic and lumberjack who has a loving relationship with a mysterious woman named Mandy who spends her days with her gaze transfixed in magical paperbacks. Enter Jeremiah Sand, who leads a manson-esque cult and see Mandy walking home one day and decides to kidnap her. He employs the help of three satanic creatures who snarl and drool and look like cenobites who have been given motorcycles. He pays them to do the deed with jars of liquid LSD, which they proceed to guzzle greedily. Panos loves cerebral head trip films, but his sensibilities lie in 80’s action films, the kind he grew up around, on sets. The cameo by actor Bill Duke, veteran tough guy from films such as “Predator” and “Menace II Society” proves that and is the nod.
I watched this film the night before i went on a camping trip and ate shrooms, and the film stuck with me because it was an appropriate precursor to such an event. The film captures the cinematic magic of monsters, the colors of a psychedelic trip and the respite from films that require such undivided attention. Nicolas Cage is right at home here, free to shout like a maniac and bug his eyes. It is vintage Cage, taking on roles that no matter how ridiculous, will never let you know he also feels his acting may be over the top, thus securing a stellar performance.
Todays Playlist entry is : Starless by King Crimson
You can watch this fantastic movie movie on Amazon Prime