Ratched is the ruthless nurse who once again made people talk about herself in the Netflix series directed by genius Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Carol, 12 years slave).
The story is inspired by the iconic and unforgettable character of the nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest from 1976 created by Evan Romansky, this time played by the actress Sarah Paulson (in the exceptional cast also Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Finn Wittrock…).
Nurse Mildred Ratched arrives in California to join the team of nurses working in a psychiatric center run by the visionary Dr. Richard Hanover, where very bloody experimental practices are implemented to cure the human mind. Mildred looks perfect, but as she enters more and more into the facility’s health care system, the real reason she went to work there comes to light.
Unlike the events told by Romansky, the adaptation of Ryan Murphy’s story takes place during the 1940s (and not the 1960s) in California, between Santa Monica and Monterey, exactly in the prestigious and fictitious Lucia State Hospital where much of the film takes place. Although Lucia is a real California city, Lucia State Hospital is not a real psychiatric facility, so the King Gillette Ranch Villa in Calabasas was chosen as the royal counterpart to the hospital. Built for razor magnate King C. Gillette in 1928, the building was designed by California Golden Age architect Wallace Neff.
The creators of the series have wonderfully recreated the aesthetic of the 1940s, including the pop-pastel colors. Judy Becker, the production designer for Ratched, talked about the set: “Ryan wanted it to look like a luxury hotel converted into a hospital, but still retained much of its charm.”
It has been defined as a horror drama with a pressing rhythm, a well-known story that has however created suspense and anxiety thanks to the perfect integration of psychedelic lights and strident violins that accompany the characters’ actions in the background. Despite the premise, the aesthetic perfection and attention to detail have made some scenes very empty, dead moments, like careful contour photographs (which however are not bad).
In this regard I have resurfaced the images of the photographer Tania Franco Klein, that in certain aspects seem to belong to the same film set: it is perhaps her architectural studies that have influenced her style and the way of perceiving the environment perfectly integrated with the subjects of the scene, “my characters are almost anonymous, they blend with the places, they vanish into them, constantly looking for a chance to escape”. And to finish, the light and colors selected give to her shots a melancholy veil of Hollywood movie melancholy.
Did you know: Murphy uses color in costumes and sets to represent themes: yellow / deception, blue / neutral, red / evil, white / purity, green / honesty. Sometimes the costumes change slightly in color as one theme moves on to another.
Genre: Drama, horror
Director: Ryan Murphy
Director of photography: Nelson Cragg
Writers: Ryan Murphy, Evan Romansky
Stars: Sarah Paulson, Sharon Stone, Cynthia Nixon, Finn Wittrock