50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
BAD HAIR, GREAT FILM,
This review is from: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest [VHS] (VHS Tape)
It has taken me nearly 30 years to get round to watching this film, and I genuinely think I appreciate it more for being that much older. It has had accolades for everything -- plot, direction, filming, casting, acting. It deserves them all. It is nothing short of compulsive. The bad guy who has not lost his soul (much less his spirit) is pitted against the embodiment of sanctimonious righteousness who never had a soul to lose.
I wonder whether Nicholson has even yet had full recognition for the truly great actor he is (how many people have even seen The King of Marvin Gardens, for instance?) His screen presence is enormous, magnetic and menacing. He combines outsize testosteronic individuality with the ability to get inside a character, and an electric sense of threat with a real power to tug at the heart-strings. Bad he may be, but unsympathetic never. He is a very big little guy, but he is still the little guy against the system. It must be impossible, surely, to upstage that?
Incredibly, no. The ultimate star in a film that has no shortage of up-and-coming luminaries as well as Nicholson (D de Vito for one) is Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched. I am never going to forget that mask-like expressionless face and that ever-rational, implacable, ever-modulated voice mouthing those soulless, uncomprehending, the-system-is-right banalities. Above all, I am never going to forget that hair. Among the many touches of genius in this production, that hairstyle is the ultimate. I simply could not take my eyes off it. The name is effective too, and I shall continue to believe until someone proves me wrong that it was an inspired borrowing from Jane Eyre -- the dreadful and sadistic Miss Skatcherd brought up to date and given a 20th-century twist.
This film is never going to become dated as long as these polarities continue to repel each other. I saw it at all only because my son showed it to me. It is relevant to my generation, it is relevant to his, and I can't foresee when it is not going to be relevant.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jul 2010 07:04:31 BDT
Thank you for your review. Now, having waited 50 years, I will read "Jane Eyre." That lags a bit behind your 30 year delay, but I have an excuse. Melville's "Moby Dick" tired me out on 19th c. novels.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jul 2010 13:43:07 BDT
Thanks for being in touch. In fact Miss Skatcherd occurs near the beginning of JE, so even if you don't finish it you ought to have encountered her.
Posted on 12 Aug 2011 08:34:28 BDT
Spot on. Watched it again last night. Great summing up of a real classic
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2011 10:53:27 BDT
Many thanks for your encouragement.
Posted on 4 Apr 2012 22:32:29 BDT
John Roberts says:
Thank you for a truly remarkable review.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2012 01:37:59 BDT
You are kind indeed. My son now has a son, but I am not likely to live to see whether he likes this film.
In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2012 18:56:41 BDT
Oh indeed. Touch wood, I am apparently in excellent health, but the age-gap is still 3 score and 10.
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