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Mandy
Panos Cosmatos USA, 2018
Emerging from the same cross-contaminated genre swamp as Let the Corpses Tan, Mandy achieves its goals with blunter and larger instruments, which is all the better, because where Corpses fails, Mandy succeeds. If Corpses was a music video, Mandy is a whole doom-metal opera in poisonous Technicolor, with an album cover depicting a landscape of magenta, indigo, and golden-yellow ruins.
December 17, 2018
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Like a Black Sabbath song come to life, “Mandy” is so audacious the audience around me in the theatre kept bursting into laughter, a spontaneous expression of surprise and satisfaction. . . . Cosmatos tosses us into a frankly hallucinatory world, with devil-demon creatures on motorbikes, shimmering prismatic fantasies, the creepiest church you’ve ever seen in your life, and enough gore to fill 10 meat lockers.
December 14, 2018
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Hyperstylised and ultraviolent, Mandy is an amped-up theological trip into pulp’s purest quintessence, with Jóhann Jóhannsson’s doomy guitar drones accompanying Cosmatos’s soured nostalgia as the ‘rock ’n’ roll’ promised by the film’s prefatory blurb.
October 17, 2018
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Through both its first, calmer part, and in its more crazed and violent second half, the film maintains a heightened style to make us feel first Mandy’s love, then Red’s rage, on a visceral level.
October 15, 2018
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Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy is the epitome of a film that might easily seem to be trying too hard—yet it flaunts its panoply of artifice so ostentatiously that it makes a mockery of the idea that style and eccentricity in film should come across as in any way natural, or casual.
September 21, 2018
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A fantasy feature awash in physical and emotional violence. In its various genre allusions, it draws from a deep, idiosyncratic well. But despite its frequent instances of absurdist humor, it is not a film that winks at the audience with its cleverness.
September 17, 2018
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The director Panos Cosmatos’s atmospheric but inconsequential revenge fantasy offers plenty of gore but not much action; it ramps up the mood with all the flashy earnestness of a set of album covers.
September 14, 2018
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Cosmatos is less interested in telling a story than in setting a mood, lingering on most of the shots until they become hypnotically fascinating or deathly dull, depending on your point of view. (The synth-driven score, by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, goes a long way in establishing the vibe.) I didn’t much care for the film, but I can see how it might appeal to gorehounds and fans of genre cinema.
September 13, 2018
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The film is about nothing—aside, of course, from the sight of a blood-spattered Nicolas Cage gritting his teeth as he rams the sharpened knob of his ax down someone’s throat. For the right palate, that can be enough.
September 10, 2018
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This smorgasbord of indulgences is held together by Cage, who gives one of the best performances of his career. Cosmatos understands Cage as well as any director ever has, fashioning a series of moments that allow the actor to rhythmically blow off his top, exorcising Red’s rage and longing as well as, presumably, his own.
September 10, 2018
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There is, perhaps, something dubious about Cosmatos’ eager extremity, his readiness to please the built-in audience for such a project, encapsulated by the chainsaw fight (!) towards the end. (Cosmatos’ genre provocations are, as of yet, a far cry from the likes of the late Tobe Hooper.) But as with Noé’s frontal attack—the sensation is everything: “If you’re not with me, you will not ascend.”
May 24, 2018
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Panos Cosmatos’s second feature after his skilful pastiche of 1970s sci-fi and horror Beyond the Black Rainbow, Mandy is a companion piece that roars with a fiery intensity as it pays loving tribute to 1980s heavy metal albums and gooey practical effects gore.
May 14, 2018
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A midnight movie that should never be seen at midnight. It requires active viewership, even as it envelops you in its extreme moods. . . . More than a story, Mandy offers large blocks of mood and emotion in which to luxuriate — until you can’t. Cosmatos’s visual style borrows from psychedelia, Frank Frazetta illustrations, J.M.W. Turner paintings, and the way oil and blood swirl in puddles of mud.
January 25, 2018
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