starring Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Bill Duke
screenplay by Panos Cosmatos & Aaron Stewart-Ahn
directed by Panos Cosmatos
starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Chloë Grace Moretz
screenplay by David Kajganich, based on the screenplay by Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi
directed by Luca Guadagnino
by Walter Chaw Panos Cosmatos's Mandy is an old-fashioned acid trip of a movie--like if Head were directed by Rob Zombie. Indeed, the film it owes the most to is Zombie's exceptional mood piece Lords of Salem. It's already gained a fair deal of cult cachet (as well as a surprising/not-surprising box-office run), not the least for the best use of King Crimson since Children of Men (prog-rock is having a good 2018 between just this and Private Life), for the late Jóhann Jóhannsson's bliss-out score, and for an unhinged Nicolas Cage performance augmented by Viking berserker rage superpowers. Not for nothing is Mandy a period piece opening with Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech, dissolving into a pixie-font title card setting the scene as "The Shadow Mountains" in the year of our lord, 1983. Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) is drawing "kinda like a jungle temple" in the remote home she shares with Red Miller (Cage). In bed, they talk about their favourite planets (hers: Jupiter, for the storms; his: Saturn, probably--no, wait, "Galactus") as Cosmatos bathes them in neon reds, then pans up into the Northern Lights arrayed above them. They canoe and it's so beautiful, the wave patterns and the blue, so blue it's almost lurid. Fire, then, a screen of it. All the elements will be represented here as metaphor for the completeness of their bond. It's not subtle. Now's not the time for subtlety.