I got bored the other day, so I started watching trailers for upcoming movies, just to chase the lethargy away. Since binge-watching trailers is something I usually do when I get lazy, sometimes I go through the same ones several times. Trailers can give you a valid perspective on many things, such as the plot, quality and sensibility of the movie. By watching a trailer, you can determine whether or not the hype surrounding the movie is understandable or just a product of mass infatuation with a cast member or a theme. On that note, where is the hype for ‘Mandy’?
I stumbled onto that weird little red piece of heaven/hell by pure accident, and to be honest, I freaked out because I thought that Nicolas Refn (‘Drive’, ‘The Neon Demon’) was at it yet again. After watching the trailer couple of times, I figured out just how wrong I was. I think that I made a false judgement because the visual masterpiece that is ‘The Neon Demon’ (2016) happened not so long ago, and because most of us forgot the name of Panos Cosmatos. After I read it, I immediately remembered the atmosphere of ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ and connected the dots to ‘Mandy’. Anyone who watched ‘The Rainbow’ would. When I said “red” trailer up there, I didn’t mean Red Band. I meant exactly what I said – red. If anyone would ask me to describe ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ with one word, that word would be “red”. I have no idea why Cosmatos chose red as his primary color in which he will paint his movies, but whatever the reason may be, red works for him. I read that Nicolas Cage compared Cosmtos’s connection to red light to the one of reptiles and infrared light. If you ask me, that is a perfect example of typical Cage-analogy (Cagelogy?), and also – the truth. Cosmatos’s ideas seem to blossom under the red light and with, sometimes agonizing, but gripping slow pace. He perfected that slow pace and instead of being boring, he managed to make it mesmerizing.
As I already said, ‘Mandy’ obviously shares similar atmosphere with ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’, but it doesn’t necessarily share the same creative universe. Both movies take place in 1983, but the plots and characters never collide. You might think that Cosmatos is going for a trilogy, but I have to disappoint you. Apparently, he said in an interview that he doesn’t intend to make another 1983 movie, because these two go perfectly together as a whole. I remember ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ being a part of his healing process because he was going through some trouble in his personal life. Cosmatos’s father was a Greco-Italian “popcorn” action movies director and his credits include ‘Rambo: First Blood II’ (1985), ‘Cobra’ (1986) and ‘Shadow Conspiracy’ (1997), and his mother was Swedish sculptor Birgitta Ljungberg-Cosmatos. Their deaths left a deep wound in his life, and their influences as well as the void he felt afterwards, are almost tangible in ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’. That kind of honesty and devotion, makes me even more eager to see ‘Mandy’. Cosmatos showed so much of his raw emotion and perception with ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’, it makes me wonder how far he took this one.
‘Mandy’ stars Nicolas Cage as Red (poetic, huh?), who gets kidnapped with his girlfriend. If you haven’t guessed by now, girlfriend’s name is Mandy and she is portrayed by the magnificent Andrea Riseborough. For those of you who stopped liking Cage during his doing-everything-I-get-my-hands-on period, prepare to get back on the dark side, because some critics say that this is his most iconic role to date. I myself never stopped liking Cage, so I don’t have that “problem”. He is a legend, and every role he takes on is good in my book, because he is the one starring in it. The rest is just a matter of how much of his “nouveau shamantic” (another Cage-ism) he unleashes. However, by what I’ve seen so far, this could easily be his best role ever. We haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the lovely Riseborough in our genre so far, so I am really curious to see what she brings to it. She did so many different roles, and she was brilliant in all of them, so we can expect one stellar performance I’m sure. The role of the evil cult leader who kidnapped Mandy and Red went to Linus Roache. Roache is a prolific British actor, who you may recognize from one of his numerous film roles, but chances are you will probably recognize him as King Ecbert in ‘Vikings’. Anyway, judging by the trailer and information we have so far, this cast did an awesome work, and we are in for a treat.
In the end, I have to preach a bit. The complete lack of hype for ‘Mandy’ just makes me sick. We can’t wait to go and check out some tenth installment of already chewed up franchise, but when it comes to originality, we are nowhere to be found! Sure, those franchises where once the benders of horror, and I am not claiming otherwise. But if we are so eager to see the same story told in a different way, why can’t we be as eager to see a new one? Think about it.