Films of the week: Jack's moment of madness proves eternal in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Friday 26 July 2013
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
(Milos Forman, 1975) Randle P McMurphy – a violently exuberant character who leads a revolt in the secure psychiatric hospital where he's been sent for evaluation – is Jack Nicholson's signature role, but Louise Fletcher matches him as his antagonist, Nurse Ratched. And for such a widely admired parable about US individualism and society, this film does have rather a bleak conclusion. *****
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(Steven Spielberg, 1984) The laid-back Thirties archaeologist-adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) parachutes into an Indian village and sets about rescuing the local children who've been enslaved by the evil thuggee cult. If you can forgive its period-appropriate, mildly racist undertone, this is a relentlessly paced and superbly choreographed comedy adventure. ****
(Andrew Stanton, 2008) Pixar's most dazzlingly inventive film is a largely wordless, gracefully cinematic eco-sci-fi drama about nothing less than what it is to be human. Without ever losing his essential robot-ness, its hero – a squat, rusty trash compactor left alone amid the detritus since humankind abandoned its polluted home planet – convincingly falls in love, and develops a soul. *****
(Michael Haneke, 2005) In this chilly psychological thriller, Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche play a bourgeois Parisian couple who are sent videotapes of their lives by a stalker who may or may not be a figure from Auteuil's past. It is a characteristically enigmatic and austere Michael Haneke film; allusive and compelling, fascinating and frustrating in equal measure. ****
(Takashi Miike, 2010) Mid-19th- century rogue samurai band together in order to assassinate the Shogun's sadistic brother, in this tribute to the work of Akira Kurosawa by the director of Audition. It has all of the appropriate samurai qualities: it is a very graceful, deliberate and controlled film, all the way to its sustained climax of uncompromising, bloody violence. Yusuke Iseya and Takayuki Yamada star. ****
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
(Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) In this meditation on death and rebirth, an elderly Thai farmer (Thanapat Saisaymar) is visited by various ghosts and apparitions of his past lives as animals. Unhurried, mysterious and dreamy, the film includes a sex scene with a talking catfish and such fabulous lines as, "I couldn't have experienced this if I hadn't mated with a monkey ghost." ****
Wild at Heart
(David Lynch, 1990) On one of the last occasions that the narrative of a David Lynch film went in a straight line, it was across country with Lulu (Laura Dern) and Sailor (Nicolas Cage, in his wired and twitchy prime), the young lovers on the run in this weird, violent and lurid modern gothic road movie, adapted from a Barry Gifford novel but partly informed by The Wizard of Oz. ****
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