Cuckoo Review

Cuckoo film still


A funny film, but not in a ha ha way.

Ever thought you were going mad? That perhaps you weren't all there upstairs? That you were positively cuckoo?

This is what's troubling Polly (Laura Fraser) when she starts hearing unexplainable noises and realises that the people she thought she could trust may be the ones trying to drive her to the edge.

Set in modern day London, Polly struggles with her recent psychological torment, never sure whether the things she hears exist in her head or not. From Cuckoo's fundamental factors: the merging lives of the brunette and blonde sisters; the psychological subject matter; the contrast of light with dark, it would seem that director Richard Bracewell is trying to do what Ingmar Bergman mastered in 1966 with Persona.

But while Bergman's was a chillingly beautiful depiction of the grey areas between sanity and insanity, Cuckoo just doesn't pull off the same level of complexity.

In a role that couldn't be more different from when she played Candice in Kevin & Perry Go Large over 10 years ago, Fraser spends most of the film looking paranoid and premenstrual. With appearances from two typically comic British actors in the form of Richard E Grant and Tamsin Greig and a title that promises irony, Cuckoo also proves to be as misleading as it is schizophrenic.

Grant and Greig spend most of the film conducting some sort of beverage-based psychological experiment, and are rarely given a chance to interact, let alone crack a joke. The subject matter of madness can either be treated comically or seriously, and while Cuckoo attempts to do the latter, it's hard to treat it that way.

If red-bull is in fact the answer to curing clinical sanity, Cuckoo's sure not to let that secret slip. In fact, by trying to mimic the confused frame-of-mind that its protagonist is suffering, Cuckoo's audience will end up equally confused by what's going on.

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