[MANDY opens in Cleveland on Friday September 21st exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre. It’s also available to rent or purchase on most major streaming services, or you can wait until October 30th if you want to buy or rent the film on DVD or Blu Ray.]
I’ve noticed a lot of movie trailers using the phrase, “from visionary director so-and-so” lately (and I’m not the only one). The vast majority of the time this is hyperbole at best, and often flat out bullshit. In the case of Panos Cosmatos, the director and co-writer (along with Aaron Stewart-Ahn) of MANDY, that phrase may actually be an understatement.
This is a film of eyeball-searing beauty and horror, an acid trip of violence and revenge on one hand, and love and melancholy on the other. It evokes the aesthetic of the eighties while at the same time forging new visual territory for the future.
Some might see this, as well as Cosmatos’ previous film BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, as a “triumph of style over substance”. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – if your movie has enough style that it succeeds despite a lack of narrative or thematic depth, that’s kind of impressive – but it’s also not true in this case. There is plenty of substance here, and just because Cosmatos chooses to convey his themes and ideas more through visuals than dialogue and plot doesn’t mean they’re absent.