Back in cinemas in newly restored form this week is Milos Forman’s 1975 classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In the career defining role of Randle Patrick McMurphy, Jack Nicholson delivers one of American cinema’s most memorable performances, backed up by a terrific ensemble cast of character actors, including Oscar winner Louise Fletcher as the movie’s antagonist, Nurse Ratched. Adapting Ken Kesey’s novel, the Czech director used its theme to comment slyly on the authoritarian society his homeland had become.
Elsewhere, the theme in Dublin cinemas this week seems to be that of lesbian relationships viewed through a male lens. Also newly restored is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, recently voted this century’s best film in a poll of professional film critics. It plays all week at the Irish Film Institute, where on Thursday you can catch Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, the touching and visually splendid story of a fashion designer’s love for a young model.
There’s more lesbianism in the week’s best new release, Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden. The latest from the Korean auteur is a sumptuous period thriller revolving around the various backstabbing antics of a love triangle in Japan-occupied Korea. It loses some steam in its home stretch, but there’s plenty to keep fans of Asian cinema enthralled here.
Jim Broadbent is outstanding in a rare leading role in The Sense of an Ending. Adapted from a Julian Barnes novel, the film follows Broadbent’s character as recent news causes him to relive the events of his youth. It feels a little disjointed throughout, but Broadbent’s captivating performance makes it very watchable.
Far from watchable is Fast & Furious 8, the latest installment in the seemingly never-ending high octane franchise. Once again it’s an overlong, tedious fest of badly staged, CG heavy set-pieces that wastes a ridiculously impressive cast that this time adds the likes of Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron to its ranks.
By Eric Hillis of themoviewaffler.com