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Critic’s Choice: Nicolas Cage revenge romp thrills and kills without faking, and you need it today, oh ‘Mandy’

Film Critic

One could catalog all the awesome things in “Mandy” — the dueling chainsaws, the Cheddar Goblin, the nightmarishly enveloping score by the late Jóhann Jóhannson, Nicolas Cage at his screaming-in-his-tighty-whities best — without quite penetrating the awesomeness of “Mandy.” Suffice to say that Panos Cosmatos’ metal-to-the-max revenge thriller is more than just the sum of its deranged set pieces, choice as they are: Its slow-drip blend of hardcore pulp and demonic fantasy has a patience and all-consuming conviction that simply cannot be faked.

Pulverizing though it may be, “Mandy” isn’t an assault; it’s an immersion, and one that demands the attention of a big screen. Happily, it’s been a surprise hit in limited release and it’s in selected theaters this weekend, kicking off a rare fourth week in L.A. art-house theaters. In these lean times for the independent film biz, it’s a heartening reminder that sometimes, if you kill it, they will come.

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justin.chang@latimes.com

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