mandy (2018) is a difficult film to pin down: part revenge flick and part visual art, it’s a film that has continued to defy attempts at categorization. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, it has built a cult following since its release, and started what this author has affectionately called the Cageissance, for the lead actor Nicholas Cagemuch like the McConaissance did for Matthew McConaughey Publish real detective and Dallas Buyers Club. mandy is a neon-drenched nightmare that tackles themes of revenge, misogyny, and psychedelic reality shifts. Although this film is contemporary and set in the early 1980s, the turbulent 1970s legacy is evident in the dynamic between all the main characters and in the tense and difficult questions the film asks about our right to live by ourselves. themselves. terms, and lack of protection from those who would harm us.
What is ‘Mandy’ about?
The film begins with an intimate look into the lives of Red (Nicolas Cage) and the titular Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), who created an idyllic existence. Red lives in the woods but spends his days chopping down the things he loves as a lumberjack, an apt metaphor for how he will destroy the life he loved in revenge over the course of the film. Their life is romantic and poetic among the trees, sleeping against a glass wall that gives them a glimpse of the stars. This peace is shattered with the arrival of Jeremiah Sands (Linus Roache) and his children of the new dawn. Sands sets her sights on Mandy and, faced with her rejection, unleashes a chain of violence that will send Red to the edge of sanity.
The fears that haunted the American public in the 1970s are cleverly exploited by the director Cosmato Cloths to highlight how our collective fears in the modern age still resonate with the cries of the past. The turmoil of the times and the rejection of traditional authority are depicted in Red and Mandy’s retreat to the secluded woods, choosing a life of easy solitude, unencumbered by the capitalist push. This heritage is also present in the widespread use of psychedelics, including a particular form of goblin gak that transforms Cage into a blood-soaked Golem bent on destruction in the film’s second half. This is a tipping point for mandytaking him into uncharted territory, infested with tigers and, as Red so eloquently puts it, “bikers, gnarly psychopaths and… mad evil.”
The 1970s saw the rise of the serial killer
Along with the popularity of LSD and its psychedelic imprint on art and creativity, we also witnessed the rise of the serial killer in the 1970s. Serial offenders were not a new phenomenon, but it should be noted that the overall impact of such a high number of active serial killers in a decade led to a rapid culture shift from reckless abandonment of 1960s to the alien danger of the 1980s. It’s also clear to see the inspiration of the murderous cult leader, a central theme in Mandy, with Jeremiah Sands playing the role of Charles Manson’s thinly disguised replacement. Much like Manson, Sands is a megalomaniac, a whiny baby, a man so frustrated by the world’s refusal to see his greatness that he maims and hurts others to vent his rage. The rise of the civil rights movement and women’s liberation movements in the 1970s finds an echo in Sands’ rage against an indifferent world where he is no longer king and able to take what he wants with impunity. Like Manson, he’s a budding musician, so convinced of his greatness that any small blow to his ego feels like a knife to the heart. The New Dawn Children, with their nomadic community lifestyle, feels like a hangover from the free love era of the 1960s. That that lifestyle has been subverted into one that fuels the Sands’ narcissism, and the greed they sate through home invasion, robbery, and violence only echoes the Manson family’s cult of hero worship, murder, and drug addiction that has been widely circulated during his trial in 1971.
‘Mandy’ takes viewers back to 1970s movies
The violence of the film’s second half reminds the viewer of the gritty, often ambivalently brutal films of the 1970s, with undertones of Taxi driver and Travis Bickel (Robert Di Nero) in Sands’ ravings about the purifying love of a Lord who loves her just a little more than most. Red’s transformation into something more than human, a spiritual entity in the twilight between god and man, reminds us of the ambiguous motives of the High Plains Wanderer, featuring Clint Eastwood. Red doesn’t come out unscathed, and the deliberate blurring of the ending, of a bloodied man haunted by his lover, reminds us that revenge has a price, for all of us. There are a number of folkloric elements, from Sands’ failed career as a folk musician to the vivid images sprinkled throughout, that give subtle hints of a desire to subvert religious belief for nefarious ends. The temple, in which the final showdown between Red and Sands takes place, set in a quarry and eventually burnt down, offers a contemporary take on symbolism that still retains undertones of classic folk horror like The wicker man.
Hard to categorize it maybe, but mandy left an indelible cultural imprint on the horror genre, earning praise from Nicolas Cage and reinvigorating the horror movie aesthetic with shades of pink and purple that have continued to tint our blood-soaked screens in movies like color out of space and Happiness. Despite plenty of blood and guts, a chainsaw fight that will go down in history, and a delightfully superior performance from Cage, mandy never loses his heart. From the strangely beautiful score of Johan Johansson to the ultra-romantic love story between Red and Mandy, we never lose our identification with Red and his desire to avenge Mandy’s death. The grit of the 1970s may be ubiquitous, but it’s also a timeless story of love, loss and heartbreak.
Mandy Reinvigorates 1970s Legacy In Psychedelic Horror Movie – GameSpot