Mostly devoid of positive attributes, Mandy follows Nicolas Cage’s Red Miller as he embarks on a campaign of brutal revenge against an unhinged religious sect (led by Linus Roache’s Jeremiah Sand). Filmmaker Panos Cosmatos has infused Mandy with an atmospheric and thoroughly trippy, psychedelic sensibility that’s compelling for about five minutes, after which point the style-over-substance vibe becomes suffocating and ensures that the movie completely lacks an entry point for the viewer – with the decidedly less-than-engrossing vibe compounded by an excessively, unreasonably deliberate pace (ie there are scenes here that seem to go on forever). Cosmatos’ aggressively self-indulgent approach to his padded-out screenplay paves the way for an uneventful and increasingly interminable midsection, with the almost impressively arms-length atmosphere undoubtedly made all-the-more-prominent by Cosmatos’ reliance on visuals that are, to put it mildly, unpleasant (ie this has to be one of the most disagreeable-looking films to come around in quite some time). And although the movie’s second half fares slightly better, if only because there’s finally some momentum at work (and it doesn’t hurt, either, than Cosmatos offers a well-lit sequence in which Cage fully absorbs his recent loss), Mandy progresses into a hopelessly incoherent third act that doesn’t even remotely justify the lumbering and magnificently tedious nature of everything preceding it – with the end result an art-house exercise in often infuriating self-indulgence.

1/2* out of ****

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