Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix venture is a campy, technicolour deep dive into one of Hollywood’s most memorable villains with stellar performances that almost let you see past its shaky plotlines.
In this prequel series to 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sarah Paulson turns in a killer performance as the wicked Nurse Mildred Ratched, stepping away from Louise Fletcher’s dead-pan creepiness in the original for a more emotionally charged origin story. It can be expected that Paulson will be celebrating several wins during the 2021 award season for her most touching role to date.
But Ratched would be nowhere without a supporting cast of talented stars like Cynthia Nixon’s Gwendolyn Briggs and Judy Davis’ Nurse Bucket. One of the best-supporting roles was Sophie Okonedo’s scene-stealing performance as Charlotte Wells, a patient at Nurse Ratched’s hospital with multiple personalities (a failed artist, a Nazi-hunting Olympian, and more). Paulson is also joined by fellow American Horror Story alumni Jon Jon Briones and Finn Wittrock in the typical Ryan Murphy roles of a crazy doctor and a deranged serial killer.
It feels like Ryan Murphy has already emptied his toy box of ideas
Fresh off the back of a new season of The Politician and the fan-acclaimed Hollywood, AHS mastermind Ryan Murphy has obviously found a new home at Netflix. However, it is this extensive catalogue of TV work that causes Ratched to stumble. While binging the season, I felt like I was simply watching eight more episodes of American Horror Story: Asylum. Sarah Paulson in a mental hospital with campy, over the top horror with bizarre characters and lavish locations. While Murphy does have his staples, Ratched does begin to feel like he has emptied out his entire toybox on previous projects and he just smashed all of his old ideas together.
This feeling of déjà vu and Ratched’s cliff-hanger ending make me care little for a second season while still inviting it as a possibility. Overall, I’d be very happy to see Sarah Paulson bag an Emmy or a Golden Globe for her amazing work on the show. It’s an easy binge, especially for fans of Murphy’s other projects.
Last modified: 19th September 2020