we search for the setups that contribute to the climax of ‘One Flew Over the
Cuckoo’s Nest,’ we will find two that are very important to the emotional
payoff of the film’s conclusion. By studying these scenes, we can better
understand how these setups were cleverly concealed. In most cases, a setup
should not call attention to itself. Even a close-up of an object will
convey to an audience that the object is significant and will be revisited
later in the film. The trick that is employed in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s
Nest‘ seems to be the consolidating of setup scenes with character building
scenes. ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ is a character-driven story; how R.P. McMurphy
behaves dictates the direction of the plot. The sink scene—a scene that centers
entirely on the idea of a payoff that will ultimately come to pass—can still
manage to hide the setup by using the scene as a way to show that McMurphy
believes that he can triumph over the system when he can’t.
Tyler Knudsen, a San
Francisco Bay Area native, has been a student of film for most of his life.
Appearing several television commercials as a child, Tyler was inspired to
shift his focus from acting to directing after performing as a featured extra
in Vincent Ward’s What Dreams May Come. He studied Film & Digital
Media with an emphasis on production at the University of California, Santa
Cruz and recently moved to New York City where he currently resides with his girlfriend.
For more of Tyler’s video essays, check out his channel at youtube.com/cinematyler.