A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse. Written by
'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' (1975), based on the novel by Ken Kesey and directed by Milos Forman, centers around R.P McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) a prisoner serving time for the statutory rape of a 15 year old, among other things. In an attempt to escape from the work yards in the penitentiary, McMurphy fakes a mental illness, leading to him being admitted into a mental hospital. There, he befriends many of the other patients in the ward and attempts to break them out of the strict and monotonous routine set by Head Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).
OK, first of all, it has to be said, I had quite high expectations for this movie. It came highly recommend by both my parents, is number 8 on IMDb's Top 250 list, and won the grand slam at the 1975 Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress). However, I was left extremely disappointed with this film.
While the first 20 minutes seem promising, showcasing Nicholsons immense talent, the film drags for the next hour, trying to convince you to love McMurphy and loathe Nurse Ratchet, unsuccessfully, I will add. Which brings me to my first and largest problem with this film. On the back of my DVD case it states that " Nurse Ratchet is among the coldly monstrous villains in film history". Based upon that assessment, I expected numerous unnecessary, unethical punishments, and a complete lack of care for her patients. Well I did not receive that, no instead we got a firm, cold, woman that takes charge of her ward, filled with mentally unstable and perhaps dangerous people, with an iron fist, being nothing but a true reflection of the mental health system at the time. That being said, I am not in anyway completely condoning her behavior. She is far too cold to be an effective nurse and her use of manipulation would not be accepted in today's society. However to asses her as being the one of most wicked, evil, heartless is completely and utter over exaggeration and unfortunately paints the film in a 'State vs Rebel' way.
Which leads also to my other major problem with this film. McMurphy, is not likable. At least not to me. He is an arrogant, self-centered 'rebel', who has made the rather laughable decision to get himself committed to this mental hospital as he is tired of the prison work yard. But no, we are supposed to cheer him on in his attempts to rid the ward of rules and boundaries, in other words, 'fight the system'. Perhaps it was 'in' to rebel against the state in the 70's? To me this film reeked of this ideology, spoiling much of it.
There are certainly positives to 'One Flew Over ' and I can understand on one level why is rated so highly by many critics and audiences. It is well directed, the acting by the two leads, regardless of my objection of the use of their characters, is extremely well done but I do not believe it to be Nicholsons best work, as many praise it to be. There are genuine funny moments to be had and a certain scene revolving around cigarettes is the perfect example of acting at its best. The last 20 minutes is also very well executed and left me somewhat vindicated.
Overall however, the particular framing of the 2 leads left me simply annoyed with this film and as such, I was left underwhelmed.
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