Inside Nicolas Cage’s Most Insane, Hell-Raising Performance Yet

RLJE Films

Mandy is the greatest psychotropic prog-metal blood-orgy revenge nightmare ever committed to film, and credit for its dark, trippy majesty goes to writer/director Panos Cosmatos.

Teaming with stars Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough and Linus Roache, cinematographer Benjamin Loeb, and acclaimed composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (who passed away shortly after completing his score), Cosmatos’ follow-up to his 2011 cult hit Beyond the Black Rainbow is yet another mind-melting effort that defies easy (or reserved) categorization. The story of a lumberjack named Red Miller (Cage) who goes on a hell-raising rampage after cult lunatics, led by wacko folk singer-turned-guru Jeremiah Sand (Roache), prey upon his wife Mandy (Riseborough), it’s a dreamy descent into pits of despair, a furious explosion of unbridled rage, and a sexualized journey through a demonic 1980s netherworld populated by fanatical degenerates and unholy blood-guzzling biker-assassins.

In short, it’s a one-of-a-kind freak-out that head-bangs to the beat of its own deranged drum. That, in turn, makes it a fitting companion piece to Black Rainbow, as well as additional proof that the 44-year-old writer/director (son of Tombstone helmer George P. Cosmatos) is one of genre cinema’s true visionaries. Employing hallucinatory aesthetics and alternately spacey and intense-to-the-point-of-insanity performances—led by a phenomenal Cage turn of mounting fury and hysteria—Cosmatos conjures up an entrancing mood of ethereal apocalyptic dread, perverse desire and unstoppable wrath.

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