Ratched is a psychological thriller series created by Evan Romansky and developed by Ryan Murphy, and starring Sarah Paulson, Finn Wittrock, Cynthia Nixon, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Davis and Sharon Stone. The series features the title character of the same name from Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ratched serves as a prequel to the novel.
The series follows Mildred Ratched who gets herself into the Lucia Mental Hospital in order to help her incarcerated brother Edmund Tolleson. However, her stylish exterior hides a lot of secrets.
Ratched totally baffled me. It starts off strong, there’s a lot of gore and violence, some very twisted themes, homophobia and child abuse. However, as it goes closer to its ending, almost about anything starts to happen, and they never get resolved.
Midlred Ratched is a smart woman who knows how to get what she wants. Her latest target is Tolleson, and to get to him, she uses manipulation and blackmail on the unsuspecting Dr. Richard Hanover. Once in, she starts spinning her web around everyone around her – the web, however, gets too complicated and after a while, its too confusing. The story then goes every which way possible, with no distinct direction and ends on a cliffhanger. Nothing is resolved, half the people are dead, and there’s a romance that really doesn’t matter.
The story takes an awkward turn with Ratched and Bucket becoming friends, although they were bickering two minutes ago. She also starts a random love affair, which, honestly, takes away from her “menacing” persona. Throughout the entire runtime, it feels as if different scenes are strung together to make a haphazard story – apart from the gore aspects, it’s not thrilling, neither is it scary.
Ratched really did a number on its excellent star cast, which is honestly the best part of the series. Sarah Paulson is the star of this show and she is equal parts compassionate and menacing – so much so that I was confused as to what to think about her. Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket, too, was excellent. She carries Bucket’s very annoying character with finesse. Jon Jon Briones as Dr. Richard Hanover is great too.
However, the series really underestimates its characters. Hanover, Tolleson, Sharon Stone’s Lenore Osgood, Cynthia Nixon’s Gwendolyn Briggs – all these characters are underdeveloped and you’d feel bad for them. Especially for Stone – her character tries to look menacing but all she does are bark orders and play with her pet. Inspite of great performances, it still leaves you unsatisfied.
However, this is a beautiful-looking show. The colours burst on the screen and they’re rich, warm and beautiful to watch. Cinematography is thus excellent and it usually feels like you’re looking at a box of colours. Shots flow in and out and there’s not a minute where it seems choppy. I especially enjoyed the parts where they showed two different things taking place simultaneously – it was quite great. Additionally, kudos to the set design and costume and hair and makeup – absolutely gorgeous.
The series is also very high on the gore. There are lobotomies taking place left right and centre and the squelching sound is something I never want to revisit again. People are boiled alive, skin falls off their bodies, people’s faces are blown off, one is electrocuted – it’s quite entertaining for horror fans.
Summing up: Ratched
For all American Horror Story fans out there, Ratched is that on steroids. It shines at times, especially with the excellently scheming Sarah Paulson, but the story doesn’t do justice to its characters. The inclusion of too many characters slows down its pace and really takes it nowhere. Also, why does Charlotte Wells become so important all of a sudden? The show, however, does look gorgeous and all the actors do an excellent job. Maybe with a more structured story, it would’ve been more delightful to watch.
Ratched is streaming on Netflix.
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