Monday, July 9, 2012

Movie of the Week – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This week’s movie is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).

The drama is about R.P. McMurphy, condemned to a mental institution that he does not belong at (or at least he thinks he does not belong at), he contends to bring hope and fun to his fellow patients. However, he is often stifled by the overbearing Nurse Ratched, causing a war of escalation. The film is directed by auteur Milos Forman, and is among his great works (with Amadeus, Loves of a Blonde and The Firemen’s Ball – Amadeus is my favorite of his films). He collaborated on the film with composer Jack Nitzsche, great director of photography Haskell Wexler and production designer Paul Sylbert. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, however, is probably more known for its performances from a fantastic cast – especially from lead Jack Nicholson, as his R.P. McMurphy is one of the great characters of cinema history. There is good work from Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd, Louise Fletcher, Danny DeVito, Will Sampson, Sydney Lassick, and William Redfield as well. The film won five Oscars including Best Actor (Nicholson), Supporting Actress (Fletcher), Director, Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. In addition to being very well written and acted, it is a wonderful character study – leading me to question whether or not McMurphy is actually criminally insane. The whole issue of mental health and how it is dealt with in places like asylums is critically scathed by the film – it is both a harsh attack and a thoughtful discussion, which not very often the case. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a must-see for fans of Nicholson and character pieces, as well as those looking to be familiar with the great films in American cinema. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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