The Movie Mandy's Beginning Middle and Ending Decoded
The Movie Mandy's Beginning Middle and Ending Decoded - or how the key to understanding Mandy by understanding Jungian psychology. IMDB
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I literally just walked out of Mandy. Stumbled out of the darkness of the theater and out into the achromatic, muted thrum of life at large. This movie was bigger than Mother! Bigger than Killing of a Sacred Deer. This thing is cosmologically enormous. And I’m beginning to wonder if Panos Cosmatos has somehow slipped me some his mind altering stimulants that litter his most recent Technicolor nightmare. Could it be that I was stung by an enormous nightmare inducing beetle? And now am I not able to be reintegrated back into the normal flow of life outside his movie? All I know is that something is wrong now. Something seems broken. Either in my brain, or could it be that this movie has made me aware of something that is actually broken in society en masse? Something isn’t right. That much I am sure of. So, shall we begin with The Movie Mandy’s Beginning Middle and Ending Decoded?

Mandy Movie Explained

I sort of chuckle at the fact that I am sitting at a keyboard, attempting to explain the soul-schisming experience that is the movie Mandy. To understand this movie, it means moving past the basics of the story, moving past the narrative, and sensing the deeper story that is happening here. Because the narrative? The plot of this movie is about as basic a Hollywood storyline as it gets. I could probably name 10 similar movies to Mandy without pause, and without slowing down. And if you and I were brainstorming together? Fifty would be highly doable if we were given, maybe, what? Ten minutes? But seriously, this movie’s narrative is so simple so as to be summarized, in a single line:

A cult and their leader, kills Red’s wife, and with horrifying vengeance,  Red systematically hunts and kills every last one.

There is nothing else. Maybe a few sensational details more. But generally that’s it. And as such, there is literally no way that I can spoil this story because this thing is way more than the basic sum of its parts. I couldn’t do the details of this story justice, even though I will do my best to try. And yet, it’s impossible. Why? Because like a seven layer cake, there is way more here than the icing. Right? There is so much else going on here. Literally has to be. We know this mainly because the movie is so – so – so what? Ephemeral? Visceral? Ultimately epiphanic? This movie is need of its own new adjective to describe it… maybe, Epiphanemeral? Visceralgasmic? (As an aside, I love how the German language has the ability to create mammutwörters. Somehow, I think I was born in the wrong country.)

But even so, you should really watch this movie before you jump in here. But beware, this movie isn’t for anyone. The violence here is an eleven on the official Tarantino-Richter-ScaleTM. (Which isn’t a thing, but I think we should make it a thing… starting today.) Just violence on top of violence. It’s a violence marinade. Blood poured out on top of blood. Pain laid out on top of pain. And yet, despite of its putrefying goriness, it is unreal. (Which begins to hint, just barely, at the very first layer below the surface.) So yeah, this movie really should come with like 19 different trigger warnings. It’s unreal. Here, watch this and you’ll get a feel for what I’m talking about.

Hahahaha… I just saw this comment in the thread for this trailer, “When Nicolas Cage is the sanest person in a movie, you know it’s going to get interesting.” Too true. So yeah, please don’t walk into this movie because I told you to. Alright? But, if you’ve seen it already, or you don’t tilt when ginormous quantities of blood and severed limbs are thrown your way, then great!  Have at it! Let’s away, shall we? 

Mandy Unpacked and Detailed

The opening third of the movie sets the stage for Red Miller’s (Nicolas Cage who’s greatest film (which could be the greatest movie of all time) definitely was Raising Arizona, and no, we aren’t discussing this. This is fact.) relationship with Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough, Birdman, Oblivion, etc.) and the perfectness of their love. There is one scene when Mandy walks out from the water, and we begin to get a hint that there might be something else going on here. Why? Did you see how the camera dropped into slow motion as she walked out of the lake to stand close to the fire? It’s almost as if Panos Cosmatos, and his cinematographer, Benjamin Loeb, are highlighting Mandy’s god-ness. She is from the land of the nymphs, the land of water and of fire. She is not of this world. That Mandy is a perfection that this world doesn’t deserve. And Red’s love for this woman is the only perfect emotion this world has ever experienced. It’s obviously a budding relationship. They aren’t married (thus the different last names), and they’ve only recently started connecting and hanging out. Mandy gives Red a reprieve from the chaotic daily routine of his lumberjack life. You tracking with me so far?

Then comes the first hints of tragedy for this movie. Mandy finds a dead baby deer in the field. And Mandy is transfixed. How could this be? A dead baby deer? And soon she tells Red the story of her father and the starlings. Her father hates the starlings, and so he talks the children into helping him bludgeon them to death, one by one. Obviously Mandy refuses, and runs off. But what does this signify? Well, have you ever seen a Starling Murmuration?

And if you’ve seen the movie Upstream Color you know that a murmuration is anything but insignificant. The starlings, being birds – especially birds capable of such beautiful patterns and stories in the sky – signify a connection to the sky, and to heaven. So these starlings that her father is killing is seen by her as an abomination. And so we get another hint that Mandy may just be an angel. Or at the very least? A symbol signifying incorruptible perfection. And Red? He’s just you. He’s just me. A guy in love with something so perfect he doesn’t fully grasp what he’s dealing with. (Or maybe he is Mandy… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Just keep reading.)

The Cult and Its Motives

Mandy is walking on the road and she walks past a group of people in a van. And the leader of this cult, Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache) decides he has to have her. This is pretty easy to understand. Evil, in any form desires purity, in order to blemish is, destroy it, desiccate it. And so he orders his second in command, Brother Swan (Ned Dennehy) to go and fetch her. But he also calls in backup. Jeremiah asks Swan to use the Horn of Abraxas… Yeah, we are going to stop right there. The Horn of WHAT?

I dove deep to try and squirrel out the meaning of Abraxas, and after two hours of reading let me just tell you this… it’s confusing. But basically, Abraxas originally came from Egyptian/Greek/Roman origin (no one really knows.) But ultimately, Abraxas began associating with Gnosticism. And then after that he was considered to be a trickster demon that was constantly dropping spiritual subterfuge on people, making them believe that he was in fact, the one true God. When, in fact, he was not. Now, we can assume that when the horn is blown, Abraxas’ minions are summoned. Oh, also? Maybe Jeremiah Sands is Abraxas? Or, more accurately, he is most likely possessed by Abraxas – as seen by the conversations that he has with himself. 

Mandy Movie Explained

But we also see that blowing the horn has its costs. Jeremiah knows that he is going to have to pay for the blowing of the horn with a life… and he offers Brother Hanker (Alexis Julemont) as payment. A life for a life. A blood covenant. Evil as it is. So when these Hell’s Angels hell spawn deliver Mandy to Jeremiah his goal is to defile her. To destroy her. Well, to prepare her, Mandy is given crazy, mind-tripping drugs, and is stung by a beetle, as the “cherry on the top” of this powerful drug cocktail.

Jeremiah “You called out to me silently on the road, and I listened. What do you see?”

Mandy “I see the reaper fast approaching.”

Jeremiah comes to Red and tells him that he has the ‘tainted blade of the pale knight straight from the abyssal lair.’ Yup, no idea. Basically here’s what I heard when Jeremiah said this, ‘this is the evil blade of the evil demon, that came from his evil home.’ Evil, evil, evil. 

Which brings us back to Mandy and Jeremiah’s attempt to consume Mandy. Well, obviously, our perfect goddess isn’t going to allow this, instead she does the one thing she knows will cripple him completely. She laughs at him. And with that, Jeremiah decides she needs to die. So Red, stabbed, and tied up, watches as Mandy is hoisted up (hanged?) and lit on fire. Red is left to watch in horror. (Mandy literally dies at the exact halfway point of the film.) The rest of the film? 100% retribution.

Mandy movie explained and discussed

Our Jungian Deep Dive 

Ok, I just have to stop us here and call something out. Jung. Carl Jung is what I have to point out here. And if you’ve been through college you know the name well. You know that he was a psychoanalyst that basically crafted/founded the idea of analytical psychology. You also know that he had a deep intellectual relationship with a small figure in that field, Sigmund Freud. The two of them worked diligently together and Freud saw Jung as his future heir of his ideas, and the one person that could carry his studies to the next level.

I hear you saying right now… “Taylor, dude, this movie is all about demons or something. Fine, I got it. But let’s reel back on the Psych 101 stuff!” Trust me. Just give me another paragraph or two, and your Psych 101 self is going to have its mind blown. Because this stuff? Yeah, they don’t teach this stuff in college. Trust me.

Well, in 1908, or the turn of the century, Jung began to see a significant difference between his mentor’s psychology and his own. For one, Jung de-emphasized sexual development and instead began focusing on the collective unconscious… which is the part of the unconscious that consisted of ideas and memories that came from ancestors. The Jungian theories place more emphasis on the spiritual side of our inner psyche than Freud. So, with that, Jung went his own way. About the same time Jung began working on a book entitled the Red Book. And that book? They were a recording of hallucinations he self-induced to try and get to the core of his unconscious. Here’s how Jung himself describes the Septem Sermones ad Mortous (The Seven Sermons of the Dead) began, which was a significant piece of the Red Book.

“It began with a restlessness, but I did not know what it meant or what “they” wanted of me. There was an ominous atmosphere all around me. I had the strange feeling that the air was filled with ghostly entities. Then it was as if my house began to be haunted….Around five o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday the front doorbell began ringing frantically…but there was no one in sight. I was sitting near the doorbell, and not only heard it but saw it moving. We all simply stared at one another. The atmosphere was thick, believe me! Then I knew that something had to happen. The whole house was filled as if there were a crowd present, crammed full of spirits. They were packed deep right up to the door, and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe. As for myself, I was all a-quiver with the question: “For God’s sake, what in the world is this?” Then they cried out in chorus, “We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought/’ That is the beginning of the Septem Sermones.” Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p190-1

Oh, and the chief of these spirits that were crushed up against his door? Yeah, his name was Abraxas. Here, tell me if this passage from his Red Book doesn’t seem familiar after watching the movie… 

“The serpent is a whore. She wantoneth with the devil and with evil spirits; a mischievous tyrant and tormentor, ever seducing to evilest company. The white bird is a half-celestial soul of man. He bideth with the Mother, from time to time descending. The bird hath a nature like unto man, and is effective thought. He is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the Mother. He flieth high above earth. He commandeth singleness. He bringeth knowledge from the distant ones who went before and are perfected. He beareth our word above to the Mother. She intercedeth, she warneth, but against the gods she hath no power.” Septem Sermones, Sermo VI

Mandy movie explained and discussed

The Conclusion of Mandy Explained

So we have a Jungian demon downward spiral happening here. Don’t believe me? Be my guest and read his Red Book. I’ve already read way more than I should have. I’d currently like those brain cells back. Just trust me. We are watching a cinematic expression of these Jungian ideals. Jung’s deep consciousness. Jung’s demon possessions. Whatever you’d like to call them. 

Now, as the movie motors on through to the end we see a few details that are worth noting. The first is that Red doesn’t kill indiscriminately. Instead, he shows mercy on the misguided. Sister Lucy, a pass. And the Chemist, who shows Red that he is surrounded by darkness, a pass. But the rest, all meet their end violently. Culminating in Jeremiah Sands’ death. Which, you should note was literally (non-metaphorically) head crushing orgasm. Like, Red seemed to climax with the ending of Jeremiah’s life. Which, is the opposite of reality. The murder of someone that wronged you would in all actuality cause you guilt and grief. Not euphoria. If thought of practically speaking. But here? Sands’ death sends Red over the edge with giddiness. 

But if you watch the ending closely, and I promise you I have… several times now. At the end, as Red flashes back to his first time meeting Mandy, the two of them are wearing his “favorite shirt.” There in the bar, they are both wearing it. Or what appears to be the same shirt. And then immediately after, there in the car, the two of them are wearing the same shirt. And then Mandy is wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt we saw her in earlier… and Red is wearing his bloodied and gnarled clothes. What do we make of this? Is this an indication that Mandy and Red are the same person? Is this some hint that the two of them are different halves of the same personality?  Or, better yet is it even bigger than that?

Final Thoughts on the Movie Mandy

No one will ever definitively know what the movie Mandy is all about. Even if Panos Cosmatos comes straight out and tells us, we still won’t know. But he has said in interviews that he wrote Mandy as a method for coping with both his parent’s deaths. So we can know that. But otherwise, it is up to us the reader to ascertain for ourselves where we thought this movie was ultimately going. And to that end, I believe that the Abraxas breadcrumb trail decidedly takes us to the shore of Carl Jung and his fantastical Red Book. We see demons there, we see discussions of spiritual conquests and struggles, we see cosmological insanity galore. Behind one of the paintings within the Red Book we find this quote that may give more explanation than all the rest of this post:

We forged a flashing sword for you, with which you can cut the knot that entangles you…We also place before you the devilish, skillfully twined knot that locks and seals you. Strike, only sharpness will cut through it…Do not hesitate. We need destruction since we ourselves are the entanglement.

So, could it be, that maybe not only was Red, Mandy… but he was also demons he was out to destroy? Could it be, from a Jungian perspective anyway, that this entire movie is one big internal struggle for our hero? That none of it existed outside of his mind and that of his subconscious? Yes, that is what I have been pointing towards since the beginning of this review. Like Jung, this is Panos Cosmatos’ story about his struggle to understand and to grapple with life, and with that of his ancestors dying. It is all about his deep internal thrashing with regard to his consciousness. It is a Jungian internal consciousness battle that wages for his soul and the sanity of his mind.

Post Credits Scene Image Deconstruction

A few of you are pointing out that while I think that I’m on top of this movie, I am in fact, in a word, not. And that is a fair critique, because all of a sudden I am learning that there as a post credit scene that I totally missed?!? Well, thanks to Jay, we have an image from the post credits scene we can dig into… Maybe, eventually, we’ll actually find the actual video. Not that I would encourage you to do anything illegal… but… cough. cough. hahaha. 

Mandy movie explained and discussed

Immediately we know a ton about this screen scrape from earlier in the movie. At the opening of movie, Mandy and Red spend their free time together reading, talking, and Mandy sketches. And Red is on record as thinking her art amazing. And what we see in this still is simple enough in that these are most obviously sketches that Mandy has drawn. And the sketch on the right is of Red. Red and a tiger. And on the right are other mythological creatures, similar to what she was drafting earlier in the film.

What I find fascinating with this still is that it is the first time we have a one to one correlation between Red and the tiger. When I saw the tiger pacing in the cage I wondered if it was an allegorical/metaphorical allusion to Red. But the Chemist released it, and then it’s part in the film was over. Seemed too short to really mean anything. But with this drawing we see a real connection between the two. So what does that mean? That with this struggle, with this inner battle, Red has finally loosed the demons that have tormented him and that he is now free? Interesting. I’ll have to update with more information once I’m able to see the closing scene myself! Sorry for being asleep at the switch everyone.

Anyway, do you have an idea or an opinion of what this mindjob of a movie is all about? Feel free to tell us your take on what Mandy is all about.  Because right about now I am thoroughly ready to hear you talk! This movie broke me a bit.

Edited by, CY

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47 Responses

  1. Mike Dotson

    An interesting theory that I’ve also read was that the film is very Lovecraftian. The grey goo drink that the “demons” engulf is theorized to be a substance that gives the person god-like powers (Red crushing the leader’s head and his voice changing) whilst it transport them to another reality/world (hence the end scene with the different planets in the sky). That’s how those bikers became humanoid demons.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Interesting. Kinda like a Super Hero genesis story? Accidental radiation, mixed with a spider bite? The movie seems to indicate that the grey stuff was drugs – but does anyone know what beetle or bug that was they stung her with?

  2. Bodhisattya Pal

    The best film review I ever saw.
    But I am really Confused after seeing Mandy.. Please tell me the significance of the Red & Mandy’s discussion about favourite star & why we saw some other planet in sky at the last scene? Is the whole story was a dream? Or what? Is Red had become one of the self destructive drug addicted demon? What? I am not feeling well….

  3. Jason

    What do you make of the two moons or planets at the end? What about the post credit scene?

    • Taylor Holmes

      Wait. WHAT AFTER CREDITS SCENE?!? Gah. I did not see an after credit scene. Walked out too early I guess. Both times. What happened? What did I miss? And I can’t find anyone talking about it online either!

      As for the two moons, probably just yet another reinforcement of the fact that this is not a literal, actual story, but rather its a spiritual, or other worldly provenance.

  4. Jay

    The post-credits scene is appears to be some of Mandy’s art. It is a still image that depicts Red (in his 44 shirt) with an aura of a tiger around him, a nymph?, a wolf near a fire, and a flaming centaur with a sword. Not sure what the other image is, but if you look at it upside down, it could be a Mandy and a wolf made of smoke? I’m sure Taylor can get more out of this than I did.

  5. Dee

    Regarding the tiger, the post credits is the 3rd time the tiger appears (rule of threes?) the first is in the start, when they have captured him he has a tiger on his shirt.

  6. Taylor Holmes

    Oh nice Dee. Totally. You are 100% right. Threes are a powerful chord that isn’t easily broken. Interesting. Went searching through the Red Book for any relevant quotes about Tigers:

    No one touches me, death and crime lie in wait for you and me. You smile innocently, my friend? Don’t you see that a gentle flickering of your eye betrays the frightfulness whose unsuspecting messenger you are? Your bloodthirsty tiger growls softly, your poisonous serpent hisses secretly, while you, conscious only of your goodness, offer your human hand to me in greeting. I know your shadow and mine, that follows and comes with us, and only waits for the hour of twilight when he will strangle you and me with all the daimons of the night.

    And I remembered the the Yin in Chinese mythology equates to the Tiger and the Yang, the dragon. If we equate snakes/millipedes to the Yang. And the Tiger to the Yin… then maybe we see the Tao of Red in these two forms? But all I can really think about is from the perspective of the Christian tradition, and their understanding of what is happening here – and it’s as simple as all out demon possession from beginning to end. It’s about Red and his struggle to get free.

  7. Jude

    Taylor, darling, you stop examining bits before the film is over. You don’t unpack the end AT. ALL.

    I appreciate the Red Book stuff – that thing is indeed amazing even in German when you can’t read German.

    But the flaming red Red in the car with the rictus grin of a burnt body? No comment? …

    ANYWAY – you said your focus was on the beginning and the end – and you looked up Red’s book – literally ;-)

    But what about MANDY’s BOOK? Did you look that up?
    Beginning and End, dude. Beginning and End. <3

    • Taylor Holmes

      Dude, I’m like what? 3, 4 thousand words into this thing and you want a critique of his red, car? Hahahah. Better yet? Why don’t you regale us with your read of this car and more importantly your fascination with it… I’m fairly intrigued now.

  8. Braden

    Bear with me on this one, but a thought…

    So, Jeremiah has the dual personality (even upon his death when the more powerful side takes over), which may be an angel or demon.

    What I believe is that Red allows similar to happen to him upon stumbling back into the house; specifically, the “Hey, Goblin” and that wild commercial – he lets something else in.

    This explains his gaining more power when the biker/demon blood flows into his mouth, his choking himself trying to force down the vodka (Red openly rejected alcohol in the opening scenes), his ability to build a battleaxe (!), when captured the demon says something inaudible to him where he replies “I don’t want to talk about that”, and his surprised look over picking up the cigarette after defeating the last biker (Red is a smoker). What’s more, I think the goblin and Red switch back and forth as to who is in control, like his preference to take the chainsaw over the battleaxe (Red), or having the ability to crush Jeremiah’s skull (Goblin).

    So, both Jeremiah and Red hold another personality/deity within them. Maybe?!

    Loved this flick all the damn same. Thanks for your article, too!

  9. Chad

    Putting all the fantastical elements aside, I think the movie can be basically seen as a man dealing with the death of a loved one. In the beginning, Red declines a drink after a hard day at work suggesting he had substance abuse issues in the past. In reality we can assume Mandy dies and Red is now seeking a way to deal with this loss. In the movie, after her death, we see him drink a bottle of alcohol, snort a big pile of coke, and take a small dose of the drug from the jar. This suggests he is returning to alcohol and drugs to deal with his loss. During this time, he is battling his inner demons with the anger of a man who feels that his loved one has unjustly been taken from him by death. There is a scene near the end that shows Red lying on the ground at his work site where trees have been cut down suggesting this is all in his mind while he is unable to deal with reality.

    • Taylor Holmes

      Oh yeah, totally. That is a perfectly good way to view this movie. Just the internal and psychological craziness of loss. So yeah, with this thought, we see Mandy as once being real, but now is dead… and the rest of this movie is him struggling to maintain his sanity. Yeah love it. Thanks Chad.

  10. Bimbox

    The director’s family name got me curious. A quick check on Wikipedia shows he is indeed the son of George P. Cosmatos, mostly known for directing Rambo 2 and Tombstone.

  11. Alee

    I have so much more to say… but for now, I would just like to make one note. The shirt symbolism is DEFINITELY significant. One of the things I noticed right off the bat was that the shirt Red was wearing when Mandy was slaughtered had a TIGER face printed on it. So, considering the post credit scene (which I also somehow managed to miss) as well as the scene in that surrealist drug lab, might be worth taking into consideration.

  12. Bebe

    I like the Jungian angle…honestly I came away thinking, it was all just a bad acid trip…first hers, then his. Hers was a dead deer and bit sad, his was a train wreck, losing his love violently, retribution, resolution in the red car. If you go back you’ll see from the time they are on the bean bag they are just tripping balls. But I could be wrong :)

  13. Justin

    The symbolism with the tiger that you pointed out in the end of the credits with the drawings as well as the chemist scene, I also noticed that Cage wore a shirt with a tiger on it the night that his girlfriend/wife got burned to death. Any meaning behind this tiger?

    • Taylor Holmes

      Why thanks! Really appreciate the mention!! Looking forward to watching your video. It’s a great movie, and could discuss this movie all day long.


  14. Dave

    In the ending when Red drives away, the camera shows more planets/moons in the sky. Does that have any significance?

  15. Jay

    Novum’s video is great. Everyone should take a moment to at least watch the ending explanation.

  16. MindIsGod

    You are eerily close.
    This movie is a gnostic homage, your interpretation of gnosticism is horribly off though. The Evil in this movie is not a result of gnosticism but they who hide behind all organized religions enslaving humanity with the fear of judgement. Abraxas is Satan is Demiurge is Yahweh, the false god of the material world and religion. Saturn, as depicted by Cage as his favorite planet, is the celestial body of Satan and all religions (and the many moon ending). Interesting he changes it to one who destroys worlds… Cage and Mandy are one and the same, one the mind of God and the other mother Earth – consciousness and dirt, combined they form human. To gnostics this woman is Sophia, the divine mother of spirit who was trapped in the dense material dimension of 3D so that Demiurge could imbibe his creations with her spirit. She is the serpent religions despise, and for good reason – she provided us with the knowledge of good and evil, thus making humans able to discern that Yahweh is a lying and false god.
    This movie is really about Mr. Cage’s redemption and deliverence to truth. Outside and inside of this movie he is (or was) one of these evil cultists – he does their drugs, he speaks in tongues, he ignores his divinity, worshipped Saturn (black cube kabba get woke), somehow he knows how to forge a weapon… hopefully this movie is Mr. Cage denouncing his former ties with evil. You can question my theory, but would you ever snort a random powder after a demon… would you taste an unknown grey goo… even when seeking revenge these are not things you do – and better yet, you do not do them with such composure. He has been here before. Only now does he realize the cult he once served is pure evil, despite it’s pretty songs and symbolism.
    At the end he has officially cut ties and rescues Mandy from hell. Is he sane? That is where Jungian psychology comes in, as well as the LSD references. Jung suffered the same fate as Crowley – worshipping be-ings beneath the God that is the self. Jung was once wise but lost his ways thanks to LSD. He thought too little of consciousness and too much of collective unconsciousness. Hollywood loves to throw Satanism in our face. Did you catch that part where they say the demon bikers did a bad batch of LSD and lost their minds…
    The only takeaway from this is to not touch modern LSD unless you want to become a host for demonic possession.
    Cage is in hell at the end. He learned nothing and thus is forever trapped on the rocky peaks of Saturn.
    You can bet money that his next film is overtly Satanic, probably including some fucked up relationship with a minor a la Matchstick Men.
    What do I know though?

  17. Alec

    Hey man, awesome work. I just wanted to point out that the tiger was also on Red’s shirt throughout the first act of the film, so it has to be relevant. Also, just a little factoid to further your idea, drugs (specifically LSD) were a really important aspect of the fever dream feeling throughout this film, and both Freud and Jung weren’t shy in their use of hallucinogens in exploring the unconscious mind. I think your take on the film is spot on. I’m just curious about the tiger, because it showed up three times.

  18. Andrew

    In Buddhism the tiger is one of the Three Senseless Creatures, which are animals ruled by a more basic human emotion. The Three Senseless Creatures are the tiger who represents rage and anger, the monkey represents greed, and the deer represents lovesickness.

  19. Tony Hart

    I wanted point out a scene that stuck with me. When he got the quad stuck in the mud there was a longer than normal wide shot that got wider and wider. I immediately thought of the painting by Frank frazetta called death dealer. Google it.

    Now, when I was talking to my friends that recommended the movie I was explaining what i had gathered and the nod to frazetta I pulled up his site to show them and on his site there’s a banner of a picture washed out in red and the collection advertised is “seeing red” which I feel goes with the theme of ththe movie.

    Not only is he seeing red with anger and vengance… but his name was red. I click the banner and therea a few trees with his signature word mark in red… only one of his many famous painting used for this exact collection. You guessed it. Death dealer (Reaper)

  20. Neil

    First off, I’m not the brightest star in the sky. But regardless here’s my little take..
    Mandy symbolises Goodness, pureness (other words the have a reference total awesomeness)
    The other two sides of this film, Red and those crazy religious freaks need Mandy. Red for salvation which he gets and gets taken away and Jeremiah who wants to corrupt her (or whatever it is she represents). When Jeremiah fails to corrupt her he is left with one course of action, to destroy her. Destroying her takes away Reds redemption. Both Red and Jeremiah are two sides of the same coin. Red wants to be saved, Jeremiah to destroy. Now to save himself Red sets out to destroy, or atleast he thinks it will. Another brain spark. Maybe Mandy represents life and Jeremiah death. With Red a mere mortal. With Mandy Red finds life/love. Death ultimately takes life. So when Mandy(life)(Panos’ parents) is taken by death(Jeremiah) Red is thrown into turmoil fighting monsters(grief) for salvation. There is no salvation without Mandy(life)(panos’parents).
    My interpretation is very simple.
    I really don’t consider myself worthy of explaining this movie.
    The cinematography is really amazing, darnedest prettiest pictures on a screen I’ve seen.
    I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I should proof read but I’m lazy

  21. Mart

    Just watched this incredibly amazing piece of cinematography. Huge Nickolas Cage fan & I’ve found myself here reading through everything & for me at the end all I could think of was who the amazing presence that was Sister Lucy. I’ve never heard of Line Pillet, she blew me away in this movie despite my brain being blown generally by everything about “Mandy”. I just walked away wanting to know more about the superb quiet (aside from 3 lines I think) girl who spoke volumes with her eyes & body language & I’m not talking about Andrea Riseborough – thank jeebuz Red spared Sister Lucy, but of course he would … watch out for Line Pillet, she joins the ranks of Alicia Vikander & Carla Juri!

  22. Mart

    Okay, I read through this page & tbh I didn’t really see the movie in this light but having just seen “Mandy” I have to say what a truly brilliant piece of cinematography it is. The more I think about it the more I want to watch it again. The scene where Jeremiah is talking to Mandy & their faces morph from one to the other is surreal. After the movie I just had to find out who played Sister Lucy. I was so taken by her presence & her ability to convey so much by not saying anything, it was just the look in her eyes. I couldn’t have taken it if Red had killed her too … the actress’ name is Line Pillet & from what I’ve seen of her on YouTube she is my new favourite actress! I didn’t even realise that Andrea Riseborough was Mandy either … what a brilliant transformation. What a cult movie! I was getting worried with Nicholas Cage’s movie choices but it’s all been rectified with Mandy. Oh the cherry on the top is “Starless” by King Crimson in the opening titles. As for Abraxas I just thought of the Santana album. The film score was very Icelandic too, I loved it. But overall it’s Line Pillet that shines for me, I can’t wait until I can see her in another movie, she’s sensational.

  23. Drew

    JUST finished the movie and started searching for a deeper dive. Seen a lot of speak in these comments mentioning a relationship with the cosmos and the earth (or the dirt, as some put it). Was the scene when Red tastes from the jar the first time we see the antennae/satellite structure (in a quick montage) where he eventually finds Jeremiah? If so, what does everyone make of this imagery? Especially considering the idea of a man-made link between the “heavens and the earth?” Thoughts?

  24. Laure

    I am curious- what are the meanings of Mandy’s scars? Also, when she came out of the water, one pupil seemed much larger than the other- what could this signify?

  25. Craig

    The superhero aspect in interesting. When asked about his favourite planet, Red stated “Galactus is my favourite and we could view Mandy as Galactus as she eats Red’s World. There is an interview with Cosmatos where he’s kind of pushed into saying that when the interviewer asks if Red is Galactus. There is also an allusion to Red being Silver Surfer to Mandy’s Galactus. Then there’s Red killing one of the main Cult characters using the chain like Cage does as Ghost Rider in the original film. Then there’s the end credit scene which has to be a homage to the MCU.

  26. Craig

    Also to add that the film’s advertising poster is very cinematic with the godlike Mandy at the top, and all else below her, with Red at the forefront bearing arms.

    It’s a few hours since I watched it but Mandy is quite a weird character isn’t she? There’s no real background to her and she was just there in the bar during the flashback. She is given the potent drugs after being kidnapped, yet still had enough mental capacity to mock Jeremiah and break him. Is she something else? Maybe not Galactus as such (as per previous post), but a similar idea; coming to planets to consume them as a cosmic destroyer? At the end of the film Red drives away from what can only be considered as a different reality or a fantasy or LSD trip, but that shot is shown outside of his perspective. It if it is ours, then what we are seeing at the end is real. Perhaps Mandy moves on to the next planet, or next dimension, or next something? Meanwhile Red is left broken but still alive in whatever place he was in. It’s the most interesting film I’ve seen since Only God Forgives.

  27. Josey

    It’s been a while since I saw ‘Mandy’ and still all I can recall about the movie is wondering who the heck is that girl! Well it’s Line Pillet! She is sensational and when is she going to get another role in a movie that I will actually be able to see!

  28. Claire Muncaster

    i want mandy’s book. i did google ‘death dealer’. i love it. i haven’t seen said film but am really looking forward to it. i love cage’s fantasy/action films. so cage was meant to play jeremiah sand was he?? how great would that have been??!!
    i like jeremiah sand’s song, reminds me of jethro tull. i’d happily join his cult were he real. song goes on for hrs/just seems to, repeating that he’s a righteous man with his heart full of love. he isn’t. it’s not. & why say “was”?? is he dead?? .

  29. Sean Knight

    I just finished watching Mandy (yes, I’m always this late to new films) and I instantly started making the Carl Jung connections, but I was surprised to see that nothing on the film’s Wiki page mentioned the connection and when I did a search only this article showed up. I’m so glad somebody else made the connections other than me though.

    This was a great article. Oh and PS: Cage’s best film isn’t Raising Arizona, it’s Leaving Las Vegas. Fight me IRL. ;)

  30. Sean Knight

    I just finished watching Mandy (yes, I’m always this late to new films) and I instantly started making the Carl Jung connections, but I was surprised to see that nothing on the film’s Wiki page mentioned the connection and when I did a search only this article showed up. I’m so glad somebody else made the connections other than me though.

    I think the tiger scene (“let the tiger out of the cage” is a common saying) implies that Cage will be unleashed by drugs that expand the subconscious. This is why a chemist lets the tiger out of the cage, or should I say lets the tiger out of Cage.

    This was a great article. Oh and PS: Cage’s best film isn’t Raising Arizona, it’s Leaving Las Vegas. Fight me IRL. ;)

    • Taylor Holmes

      Glad others thought of it and it wasn’t just me. Hahaha. It’s nice to be the first, but isn’t nice to be the only! Hah.

      As far as fighting you IRL… those are two of his best. It was his most serious, profound, and intense work. (Vegas, imho, is even more intense than Mandy solely because it’s actual, real life.)

      So yes, Leaving Las Vegas is without a doubt the second best film he made! Hahahaha. Ok ok – this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever been wrong. You are correct sir. And I, am wrong.

      Cough. Cough. Spew. That wasn’t a fun experience at all!

  31. Ace

    Great article, thanks. You should check out his first film, Beyond the Black Rainbow which has some common elements around cults and drugs.

    Also there is one element to the post-credits scene you overlooked. Right after we see Mandy’s art, the screen goes dark and for a moment we hear…the starlings.

  32. Ash

    Great article, thanks! Check out his first film, Beyond the Black Rainbow which has some common elements around cults and drugs.

    Also there is one element to the post-credits scene you overlooked. Right after we see Mandy’s art, the screen goes dark and for a moment we hear…the starlings.

  33. Claire M

    Red knew Mandy loved fantasy novels (as do I!!), so in his mind he mixes up his real reaction to her death (lying in the forest unable to do anything) with what he wishes could happen (avenging her while spouting re-hashed metal lyrics).
    A budding r’ship it may have been, but she wasn’t just the best thing in Red’s life, she WAS his whole life. That was IT. He’s built his entire world round her, now she’s gone.
    Maybe she has/had no background cos he invented her, or he fancied her so he made up that he was w/ her when they’d never actually met in real life.
    She looks like Juliet from the Franco Zefferelli film at 1 point, which I loved as a child & was as obsessed w/ then as I am w/ this now.
    R & J are obsessed w/ each other too; they’ve nothing & nobody else in their lives either. Also Roache voiced Romeo in the animated version of R & J xx

  34. Bethany-Lynn

    There’s also the scene in the bathroom when Red is downing what I can only assume is an entire bottle of vodka and he’s wearing a shirt with a Tiger on it. Connection between him feeling caged there and then being released later? The tiger actually manifests. Idk but I wanted to point out it isn’t the only time there’s a tiger/red connection.

  35. Frank

    What was Red’s life before humble lumberjack? He forged a effing battleaxe in his basement? Just had that laying around?

  36. Amber J Unthank

    Thought this movie was amazing. Best acting Nick Cage has ever done. True Romance is also a good one if you love Raising Arizona. Anyways the scene where Mandy is talking about her dad and the baby starlings look at Nick Cages face and reaction. That is true emotion and amazing acting. So intense. I believe his character lost the one thing that meant the most to him and he went completely off the deep end never to return. I loved it even though some of it was almost too much. Not everyone can watch this film that is for sure. I am looking forward to more from that director.


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