A true-crime movie about a serial killer? Count us in! Directed by Tobias Lindholm, ‘The Good Nurse’ is based on a book of the same name by Charles Graber.
Jessica Chastain plays Amy Loughren, an overworked nurse-cum-single-mom, who is diagnosed with a serious heart condition but cannot afford to take a break because she doesn’t have health insurance. Eddy Redmayne is new nurse Charlie Cullen, who befriends Amy, and they begin to rely on each other for everything. Their friendship is tested when Cullen becomes a suspect in the unexpected death of a 77-year-old patient. It’s a death that could’ve been easily overlooked, however, an investigation led by upright officer Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) exposes the staggering scale of corruption and noxious negligence existing in the health-care system.
Despite a solid cast and an intriguing real-life story to build upon, the production value of this tale feels lacking. What could’ve been a fantastic thriller, is ‘watchable’ only because of compelling performances by Eddy and Jessica. Had this been in the hands of less experienced actors, ‘The Good Nurse’ would’ve been completely forgettable. One gets that the story is dark in nature, but it’s hard to understand why the makers had to shoot the film like a horror movie. Most scenes are shrouded in a depressing dark tint and the background music does nothing to heighten the mood. It all feels slightly underwhelming. Also, the plot unfolds in the early 2000s, and even looks like it was produced in the late 90s, which is probably deliberate artistic choice, but dilutes the cinematic experience. The same technique worked favorably in ‘The Viewing’ by Panos Cosmatos, a horror noir short-film set in the 70s.
Jessica Chastain is emphatic as the ‘good’ nurse, and her emotional struggles and fears are palpably relatable. Eddy Redmayne is eerily ordinary as Charlie Cullen, which is meant as a compliment, because most serial killers get away with their crimes for longer than usual because of the the exact same reason – their sheer outward ordinariness. They could be your friendly next-door-neighbor or your compassionate colleague at work. Eddy’s performance as Charlie slowly thrums to a crescendo and he scarily unravels in the climax.
Watch this one for the actors. It’s a 6/10 from me. You can stream the film on Netflix.
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