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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

 

Why this old movie? Well, it was one of those DVD purchases that took along time to arrive and was accompanied by a magnificent quality of customer services from Amazon, whom God preserve.

The outstanding acting is what sets this movie apart from so many other psycho thrillers. Jack Nicholson's reasonable crook McMurphy winds up totally screwed by the system until he finds the only freedom available from the hands of the friendly giant Chief. Lengthy scenes in the charmless day room of the institution become seriously claustrophobic as the patients argue and mistreat one another, while McMurphy learns the appalling truth behind the incarceration of his colleagues.

Louise Fletcher's terrible Nurse Rached who believes in her awful junta, the loveable bunch of 'crazies' and the humourless medical overseers all add rich flavour to the mix, but McMurphy's heavy brow and quite irrepressable smile maintain the spirit of hope until the inevitable disappointment.

The seafaring scenes provide relief from a completely bottled film, but then it's the claustrophobic nature of the institution and the intitutionalised inmates which compell the viewer to stay with the action. The confrontations are fearsome, as neither Rached nor Mac will relent; and while the language gets strong, you feel the oft-trotted-out excuse of characterisation is actually valid here.

Little is given away to quote the most stunning line in this picture: 'Thank you,' which comes with honest gratitude, great surprise and forges a potent connection that fires hope once again. There is much sadness, and excellent questions to be asked: who are the crazies? The inmtes, with their repressions, pains and social inadequacies? or the system that institutionalises them, sometimes with little justifiction?

The DVD provides an excellent documentary, revealing which actors were offered parts in the film, and how the cast and crew immersed themselves in institutional life. (When Nicholson arrived on the set, he was genuinely at a loss to tell who were the inmates and who were the actors playing the parts of inmates).

Okay, it's not faultless, but so close that I could not take away as much as half a LeonAndy.

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