Nicolas Cage’s movie at Sundance, ‘Mandy,’ uses his vintage, insane acting style to perfection and has all the makings of a cult classic

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“Mandy.”
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Sundance Institute

  • “Mandy” is a cult classic in the making, as the director of “Beyond the Black Rainbow” gives us another stunning look inside madness.
  • It’s topped by a Nicolas Cage performance that is pure “Cage Rage.”

Nicolas Cage has always been fascinated by the performances that open up his darker side. And though Cage still has too many roles left to say what he does in “Mandy” is the ultimate example, it definitely is one of the toppers.

It’s hard to describe “Mandy” in words. You have to experience it. But here goes.

The movie comes from the mind of director Panos Cosmatos, whose only other directing credit is the now-cult classic, “Beyond the Black Rainbow.”

Set in 1983 in the Shadow Mountains, Red (Cage) lives a tranquil existence with Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), who is the center of his universe. They stay up late at night chatting, they connect, and it’s clear they’ve found their soul mates in one another. Things take a turn for the worse when the leader of a group of religious radicals notices Mandy and becomes obsessed with her.

He subsequently calls on a group of leather-clad supernatural bikers to snatch her up in the middle of the night and bring her to him. This leads Red to open up about the madness inside of him, resulting in a psychotic quest for revenge filled with bow-and-arrows, chainsaws, a makeshift axe, and lots of cocaine.

Like “Black Rainbow,” Cosmatos uses colors and lush cinematography to create a world that is beautiful but ominous. He also trades in the synthesized score for a rock-inspired number this time.

Then Cage takes it home. There are so many sequences in the final 40 minutes of this movie that are just vintage “Cage Rage,” and I don’t want to give them away.

But I’ll give you one.

In a scene shot in a bathroom, Red walks in covered in his own blood after being tied up with barbwire. He grabs a full bottle of vodka from under the sink and begins chugging the bottle (as well as pouring the vodka all over his fresh wounds) while screaming between chugs. The scene gets more and more insane (and comical) as it plays out.

Like “Black Rainbow,” this movie may not be for everyone. Even the most dedicated fans of Sundance’s Midnight Movie section, which “Mandy” is a part of this year, walked out of the theater.

But I can’t think of a higher recommendation.

“Mandy” is an acid trip that at times you’ll wish would just stop. But when you ride it out, gives you the payoff of a 100% insane Nicolas Cage performance.

“Mandy” is seeking distribution.