Ratched, Nurse Ratched, or in the full name, Nurse Mildred Ratched.
Here, she’s played by Sarah Paulson, but in 1975, she was played by Louise Fletcher in the classic movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest alongside Jack Nicholson. Here, we go back to her roots as she takes a job at Lucia State Hospital.
Beginning in 1947, in a church, a young man, Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock), claims his car has broken down and takees refuge in a priest’s hole, but it doesn’t take an Einstein to work out that murder will soon be afoot! And as we soon learn, he’s a man not to be trusted in any capacity, and becomes labelled “The Clergy Killer”.
Six months later, and with Tolleson soon to be taking up residence at Lucia State Hospital, it’s a brand new day for Nurse Mildred Ratched (Paulson) as she begins her job there. She’s rather demanding, as you might expect and which is shown in how she secures her position when in discussions with the man in charge, Dr. Richard Hanover (Jon Jon Briones). Plus, when she meets head nurse Bucket there, I half expected the latter to correct loudly, “Bou-QUET!” 😀
As she sets about her work, at one point, she engineers a situation where she saves a patient’s life; and while some patients are mentally-incapable of understanding anything, she seems to wind them up while she talks to them privately. As such, she acts rather like Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, making it seem like everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault and that she’s Miss Perfect, whilst being completely psychotic at the same time.
There’s also a particular scene between Ratched and the mysterious man in a trilby hat, Charles Wainwright (Corey Stoll – Ant-Man), but I won’t go into detail here. Have a watch and let me know what you think. It was decidedly odd.
Other cast members popping up along the way include Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis, Sharon Stone, Hunter Parrish, Rosanna Arquette, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alice Englert, Sophie Okonedo and Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction, Static, Freejack).
Overall, Ratched looks great since, sometimes when she appears, the entire screen is bathed in a deep, green light, although this gives it more of a The Shining feel than that One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Also, it’s very OTT with the endless ‘Cape Fear‘-style music as it goes on, overegging almost every scene, especially as it gets towards the conclusion of the first episode. Plus, in the first scene, the actual music taken directly from 1991’s Cape Fear remake.
While this first episode didn’t wow me, I will check out a second one to see if it improves.
As an aside, in a recent interview for this show, Sarah Paulson tried to make capital about how much of a loss the death of Chadwick Boseman was to her, even though… she said she’s never met him. That sounds like something only you need to know, Ms Paulson, and not the rest of us, but like I said, she’s making capital out of his death.
UPDATE Episode 2: I’ve seen the second episode, “Ice Pick”, which partly involves Dr Hanover performing practical demonstrations of lobotomies on cadavers, by the way of… er… yep.
Also, with more from Cynthia Nixon and Finn Wittrock (Tolleson) to flesh out the story, this has improved with the second episode so I will check out some more. It does just feel a bit odd sometimes, that sometimes it plays out like a Hitchcock-style thriller with the chilling music of the time, whilst sometimes just reverting back to the Cape Fear theme again. Why not just make their own theme?
Beyond this episode, it’s incredibly gory at times, hence the 18-certificate. Also, it’s interesting, if not essential.
Ratched is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from Friday September 18th.
Episode 1 Score: 5/10
Episode 2 Score: 7/10
Episode 3 Score: 6/10
Series Directors: Ryan Murphy, Michael Uppendahl, Nelson Cragg, Jennifer Lynch, Daniel Minahan, Jessica Yu
Producers: Tanase Popa, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Eric Kovtun
Creators: Evan Romansky, Ryan Murphy
Writers: Ian Brennan, Jennifer Salt, Ryan Murphy
Music: Mac Quayle
Nurse Mildred Ratched: Sarah Paulson
Edmund Tolleson: Finn Wittrock
Dr. Richard Hanover: Jon Jon Briones
Gwendolyn Briggs: Cynthia Nixon
Nurse Betsy Bucket: Judy Davis
Lenore Osgood: Sharon Stone
Ingrid: Harriet Sansom Harris
Father Andrews: Hunter Parrish
Louise: Amanda Plummer
Charles Wainwright: Corey Stoll
Annie: Rosanna Arquette
Governor George Wilburn: Vincent D’Onofrio
Nurse Dolly: Alice Englert
Charlotte Wells: Sophie Okonedo
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.