Pretentious Revenge with Mandy (2018) Review

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Well, you came, and you gave without taking

Mandy (2018): 6 out of 10: Mandy presents a mixed bag of emotions, offering moments of captivating visuals and intense scenes, while others feel slow and overly artsy. The first half hour of the movie is a test of patience, with prolonged pauses and minimal action. It’s a strange combination of the overly arty and trippy atmosphere of Aronofsky’s Mother! mixed with the mind numbing mundanity of Disobedience.

The Good

If you can endure the slow setup, Mandy offers some truly memorable and unique elements. The motorcycle gang, resembling the Cenobites from Hellraiser, brings a thrilling and surreal twist to the story. The use of Heavy Metal-style animation and the eerie synthesizer score mixed with rock riffs adds a layer of gritty atmosphere to the film.

The movie shines when it leans into its more bizarre and over-the-top elements, like sleeping bag kills, Bill Duke cameos, and chainsaw fights. The chaotic, messy setting of the biker gang’s lair feels surprisingly realistic, even if other aspects of the film stretch believability. Also bonus points for using caltrops the correct way.

The Bad

The Bad: As the story picks up, we see Cage’s character seeking revenge against the cult that wronged him, though their motivations and actions can feel inconsistent. For example, they leave the protagonist alive, which seems like an odd choice for a cult committing heinous crimes. (Actually, the biker gang does this exact same thing as well.) This would be less of an issue if there was any motivation for either group to leave Cage alive. But there simply isn’t.

Mandy also seems to get the revenge order wrong with Cage taking on the Hellraiser biker gang first before going after the considerably softer target of the religious cult. Would have been better to mix the two.

The Ugly

The Ugly: Even when the action starts, the pacing remains a significant issue, and some of the stylistic choices might not sit well with everyone. Scenes with weird lighting and excessive focus on mundane actions, such as a character raising and lowering a window in a van, can be frustrating to watch. This is a movie that saunters rather than runs to the next scene.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: In the end, Mandy offers a visually striking, unique experience that may appeal to those who appreciate art-house films and gritty revenge stories. However, its slow pacing and uneven narrative may make it a difficult movie to sit through more than once. Mandy is a film that has its moments of greatness, but the journey to get there can be a test of endurance.

Yay, we got helicopters again. I have not had a helicopter in a review since last November’s Spy review.
I don’t know if this is a spoiler, but apparently the entire film takes place on Tatooine.
Shades of “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife!” during the chainsaw fight.
The movie understates it. But there is a nice The Hills Have Eyes/ Rest Stop vibe to the cult and motorcycle gang activity. The motorcycle gang, in particular, could make for a fascinating spin-off movie.
In the Mystery Science Theater version of Manos Hands of Fate, the famous quote was “You know, every frame of this movie looks like someone’s last known photograph.” In Mandy, every frame looks like it could be painted on the side of a van.
Lighting a cigarette off your opponent’s burning skull? Is this a Ghost Rider prequel?
Point of order, Mandy. Burning someone to death in a sleeping bag does not cremate the body. It burns the body and may kill the recipient, but cremation requires much higher temperatures.
Be still my beating heart. The Soul Edge makes an appearance in the movie. I feel like pulling out my copy of Soulcalibur V and taking it for a spin.
Seriously, this is not a screenshot from a Hellraiser sequel.
Well, we don’t have any computer screens on Tatooine in 1983, but we have paperback novels.
I remember all my life
Raining down as cold as ice
Shadows of a man
A face through a window
Crying in the night
The night goes into
Morning, just another day
Happy people pass my way
Looking in their eyes
I see a memory
I never realized
How happy you made me
Oh, Mandy
Well, you came, and you gave without taking
But I sent you away
Oh, Mandy
Well, you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
And I need you today
Oh, Mandy
I’m standing on the edge of time
I’ve walked away when love was mine
Caught up in a world of uphill climbing
The tears are in my mind
And nothing is rhyming
Yesterday’s a dream
I face the morning
Crying on a breeze
The pain is calling
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