Nicolas Cage, the Oscar-nominated actor, is not a fan of Nicolas Cage, the meme. “The issue is, with the advent of the internet, doing these mashups, where they pull these choice moments without the context of the whole film around it to support it, has created this meme-ification, if you will,” he told IndieWire. “It’s been branded ‘Cage Rage,’ and it’s frustrating. I’m sure it’s frustrating for Panos, who has made what I consider a very lyrical, internal, and poetic work of art, to have this ‘Cage Rage’ thing slammed all over his movie.”
Panos is Panos Cosmatos, the director of Mandy, a scuzzy, blood-soaked hallucinogenic journey that’s garnering Cage some of the best reviews of his career. For the first time in a while, the audiences are laughing with Cage, not at him. But based on his comments, I’m not sure if he realizes this. Then again, it’s hard to know what Cage is thinking, after years of dinosaur skeletons, themed wedding proposals, and starring roles in direct-to-home video-worthy dreck like USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, Vengeance: A Love Story, and Left Behind. And Pay the Ghost, The Humanity Bureau, and Looking Glass. And Dying of the Light, Outcast, and Dog Eat Dog. It’s been a rough couple of years for Cage, but with the well-received Mom and Dad, voicing his beloved Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, and now Mandy (which also boasts an incredible ambient-metal soundtrack from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson), he’s on a nice hot streak. And it’s partially thanks to tapping into his Cage Rage.
Mandy starts off slow. For the first hour of the film, very little happens. It’s mostly Red Miller (Cage) and Mandy Bloom (wide-eyed alien Andrea Riseborough) living an idyllic life in the woods. But things go south when the leader of the Children of the New Dawn, an LSD-soaked cult founded by Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), decides to kidnap the help of Mandy with a demon biker gang. I’m hesitant to go much further about the plot, but I will describe, in brief, a few of the things that happen in the second half of Mandy.
– Nicolas Cage wields a crossbow named “The Reaper.”
– Nicolas Cage welds (yes, welds) a battle-ax.