Red is a simple lumberjack living in the mountains with his artistic wife Mandy. But when a mysterious cult summons a demonic biker gang to kidnap Mandy, Red must transform into a sword-wielding warrior of vengeance.
In normal revenge/action films the “inciting incident” happens within the first half hour. In this case, Mandy’s murder and Red’s motivation for vengeance take place halfway through the two-hour film. Furthermore, actor Nicolas Cage has a surprising lack of screen time and lines considering that he was the main draw to watch the movie.
Director Panos Cosmatos has captured the feeling of being on a drug through film. The stylized colors, surreal imagery and soundtrack create a unique world that’s both fresh and nostalgic. While some elements of the plot are obtuse, I never got the sense that it was pretentious.
Mandy has style over substance. It’s an interesting neo-fantasy world of limited color palettes. However, the poor pacing bogs down what could have been a really fun ride. Cosmatos could become a great director if paired with a strong story, but from what I’ve seen, his style may be more suited for music videos.
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