‘Ratched’ assessment: Sarah Paulson stars in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix sequence, which flies closer to ‘American Horror Story’ than ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

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Created by newcomer Evan Romansky, the eight-episode Netflix drama (and no, this is not designed as a check-in, check-out restricted sequence) bears all the Murphy hallmarks, kicking off with a grisly a number of murder involving monks, perpetrated by one other of the producer’s repertory gamers, Finn Wittrock. The character lands in a psychological asylum located in a picturesque Northern California seaside city in 1947, the place the fashions are fashionable and Hitchcock-ian music accompanies each lengthy drive alongside the coast.

Enter Paulson’s Mildred Ratched, whose easily delivered calm belies extra severe intentions. Endeavoring to discover a place as a nurse at the facility for causes that pretty shortly develop into clear, she instantly arouses the suspicions of the head nurse (Judy Davis) and the nosy landlord (Amanda Plummer) at the motel the place Mildred takes a room.

That’s already three flamboyant roles, however wait, there’s extra, together with Cynthia Nixon as an aide to the governor (Vincent D’Onofrio), who finds a political motivation for changing into in mental-health packages; Sophie Okonedo as a affected person; and Sharon Stone as a rich girl harboring her personal secrets and techniques and a want for vengeance in opposition to the asylum’s administrator (Jon Jon Briones).

That’s a whole lot of feminine firepower, and the solid dives into all this chewy pulpiness with reckless abandon.

Alas, it is a little bit too reckless, and the connection to “Cuckoo’s Nest” — an Oscar-winning 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson, primarily based on Ken Kesey’s novel — really feel conspicuously tenuous. While the sequence zeroes in on social mores of the time, together with homophobia and sexism, it performs largely like an excuse for extra grotesque “Horror Story”-style violence, culled from the lurid zones of Murphy’s prolific filmography quite than his higher-tone fare (see “Feud: Bette and Joan” or “American Crime Story”), or for that matter the supply.
It’s a disgrace, since Paulson was the excellent selection to play the clenched, infuriatingly calm character that earned Louise Fletcher an Academy Award, and like Murphy’s different current Netflix interval piece, “Hollywood,” the total casting and basic look are luxurious.

Those lavish trappings wind up sacrificed on the altar of gratuitous nastiness, and the title lastly appears like little extra than a come-on to entice these interested in how the sequence and film will intersect.

The end result, merely put, is that “Ratched” turns into wretched and for the fallacious causes, and even filed into the cupboard of “guilty pleasures,” does not deserve an prolonged keep.

“Ratched” premieres Sept. 18 on Netflix.

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