One movie I watched recently that stuck quite heavily in my mind long after was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest. I had seen this performed as a stage play when I was younger. Though as I've slowly made my way through the AFI top 100 list this year, I had not known quite what to expect from this film. Pleasantly, I found respect. There are layers to this film and as the audience, we can disagree with some characters' morality, and view on the grander scale what a beautiful story this is.
Cinematography is pivotal in any film. But what struck out to me were the many reaction shots that perhaps tell the story better than the dialogue. As I said. Layers. In many scenes we hardly see the person talking but rather how the others around them are handling the situation at hand. It drives home this topic of voyeurism. As an audience member, I felt that I was in the ward. And eagerly, I was looking out to see how the others who I'd became acquainted with. Though I could not speak with any characters, I was within the action. I was voyeur. Looking in. I saw moments where people thought nobody was looking at them. Silently, I could pass my own judgement as the events unfolded in front of me. And the best part about that is that there was no way that I could be reprimanded in the consequences of the action.
Something story-wise that stuck out to me with this film was the boat scene. On a grander scale. It represented the drastic lengths people will go to for an opportunity to feel free. To feel normal. And the same theme is explored in the movie Shawshank Redemption. It is an essential part of the human condition. It's mentally ruinous to be caught up in a relationship where permanently you are the subordinate. Doubly ruinous if you have no free-will. And I very much hope you never find yourself in that spot. But it also reminds us free-folk that simple joys mean the most. So in turn we appreciate our own lives much more (or rather we should. Quick question, do you appreciate your life? Leave a comment!)
I know that in the novel, this narrative is told through Chief and Chief is the main character. And you can imagine the disagreements the writer of the novel had with the people who made this movie. Ultimately, I agree with the filmmaker's decision to make R.P McMurphy the main character. Not only because it's made the action more dynamic but it makes the ending much more of a surprise. Chief is a great character, I do not discount that. I admire the stoicism that allowed him to carry on as he did. And it isn't often that stories involve a character like him. And realistically, Chief reminded me of what Victor Frankenstein referred to as the 'Demon' in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. So as a writer, I've taken notes and hope to find an opportunity to draw on Chief as inspiration.
I really think that McMurphy didn't want to escape. I think he had become tired of his own shenanigans. And I think with the others in the ward, he found a companionship he never had before. People as well that were around him not just because they had to be. And he wanted to belong. Had he left and trust me, he would have if he wanted to, his life would have become more of the same things he had been doing before. So yes, it may have killed him in the end, but doesn't that show the most profound character development?