Friday, 12 August 2011

One flew east, one flew west


I am once again publishing thoughts about a piece of cinema after seeing it on terrestrial television, on this occasion the film adaptation of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. While Kesey's novel is inspired by his own direct experiences and understanding of psychological institutions as scientific volunteer on the effects of psychedelic drugs, it is just as correspondingly a parable to the mentality of societal compliance. The free spirit of Jack Nicholson's Randle McMurphy wills his fellow patients to "vote" with their hands in favour of watching the World Series on their television. But they are immediately terrified and subdued from exerting the opportunity presented to them by the ruling Nurse Ratchet, who expects this reaction intrinsically in accordance to her conditioning. But the determination of Randle overcomes their fear in eventuality. This being why he is forced to undergo the mental destruction of electro-convulsive therapy, and eventually lobotomy, killed in mercy at the hands of the gentle Chief Bromden at the film's conclusion. Not many representations of our "rights" are as poignant as this one.

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