‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’: Soars and Scars

Adapting Ken Kesey’s novel by the same name (the author refusing to watch the movie at all), director Miloš Forman directed a movie that soared and yet scarred you. Injecting the goings-on inside an Oregon psch hospital with hopelessness and adding flashes of hope, the movie isn’t an easy watch. And yet it’s hypnotically classic, dragging you into the other world of mercilessly strait-jacketing patients and controlling them via the icy, frightfully aggressive, wretched Nurse Ratched played with frightening effectiveness by Louise Fletcher. The rest of the cast—that also included some real-life patients as extras— notably Jack Nicholson—who, through R.P. McMurphy continues to rep rebellion against stifling authority—Will Sampson, Michael Berryman, Brad Dourif, Sydney Lassick, Danny DeVito, William Redfield, and William Duell became part of your claustrophobic journey that ended with freedom that was both liberating and heartbreaking. Add to the proceedings Jack Nitzsche‘s disturbingly dark score, and you had an enterprise that swept the Oscars with one fell cuckoo.

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