Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wire, briar, limber-lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east, one flew west
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (Milos Forman, 1975, USA) Most cuckoos are brood parasites that lay their eggs in another birds nest. The tiny cuckoo grows faster than the others and eventually takes over and dominates their adopted siblings. RP McMurphy is one such cuckoo; a narcissistic man who feigns mental abnormality and through mimicry attempts to dominate the nest. He feels he can serve the remaining months of his criminal sentence in relative comfort inside the Institution. But Nurse Ratched, the motherly hen who cares for her troubled children, seeks to restore order and enforce conformity. McMurphy’s anarchic attitudes clash with the Institutional regime represented by Nurse Ratched though they both share a common purpose: to care for the men on the ward. McMurphy gradually changes from indifference about the patients to accepting them as peers while Ratched believe their treatment should be strict and scheduled and treats them like children. The turning point is the absolutely beautiful scene where McMurphy acts out the World Series in front of a blank TV. To this day, it sends chills down my spine. When he learns that his release is subject to the opinion of the Institution, he begins to scale back his protest. But it’s too late; he has already freed the men from their drug-addled stupors. McMurphy sacrifices his freedom twice to help the men and ends up being victimized by those who pledge the Hippocratic (re: Hypocritical) Oath. RP McMurphy is dead but his legend will haunt the ward forever. The balance of power has shifted and the nest now belongs to the cuckoo. His influence has obviously changed the men and he has done more in a few months than Nurse Ratched in all the years: he has made them human once more. Though McMurphy and Billy never escape the institution, the Chief is able to fly away to a hopefully brighter future. (A+)

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