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

Nicolas Cage as Red in the action, thriller film “MANDY” an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RL
Nicolas Cage in the movie “Mandy.”
(RLJE Films)
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

@JustinCChang


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