Bad Diagnosis For ‘The Good Nurse’

The Good Nurse is the typical movie an Oscar winner makes after they win an Oscar. And by that, I mean it’s not too good. Remember Michael Caine having to miss the Oscars ceremony to do reshoots on Jaws: The Revenge. Maybe that’s why Jessica Chastain signed on because it would’ve have almost guarenteed her a win for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which she was good at. But you’re left wondering where was all that energy and excitement she brought to that role because it’s missing here. A movie like this seems more like it should have been made for Lifetime except for the use of profanity.

The movie doesn’t add much that you can probably get from watching Capturing the Killer Nurse and still save yourself half an hour. It gets deeper into the life and times of Amy Loughren (Chastain) as a single mother of two children who has a heart condition that seems to pop up whenever the script requires it. Working at a hospital where management is scrutinizing every syring needle being used, a new nurse, Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) comes to work and strikes up a friendship with Amy.

Then, a lot of patients start dying mysteriously. Some are young and on the road to recovery and others are older but still it puzzles everyone how they could pass. As the local detectives Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) and Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) looked into the cases, they hit a problem as the hospitals’ risk manager, Linda Garrain (Kim Dickens doing the same icy, cold bitch role she’s done a zillion times before) prevents a lot of info from being released.

And what we have for about two hours of screen time is a lot of back and forth of the same old same old that would’ve have been more interesting if there was some tension. Amy doesn’t wan to create problems because she needs the job for her insurance to kick in. At the same time, she suspects something is wronge with Charles. The problem is we never do really see much of Charles to really care.

While I command the filmmakers with not really exploiting the murders, I felt that they didn’t know how to handle the plot. Charles is never really a terrifying person as the movie delves into his way of using the deadly doses in regular saline IV bags. Even as Amy begins to suspect Charles is the one behind all the mysterious deaths, I never did feel why Amy still kept a mutual relationship. While the movie does show the two working together, I could never get the feeling why they were friendly outside of work to the extent they were.

Part of the problem is director Tobias Lindholm doesn’t know to give the plot a good flow. There’s scenes of Amy having tense moments with her daughters. There’s scenes of the detectives have tense moments with the hospital to the point they get themselves banned from the hospital. There’s not good seques in between the scenes. This movie wants to show the hypocrisy of the the healthcare industry but seems to abandon it. In the end, Charles is fired because he lied on his job application, not for the mysterious deaths.

In the end when Charles is finally arrested for his crimes, there’s little to do as he breaks down during questioning. We’ve come to expect serial killers like Charles to be methodical and conniving. Yet, I felt Lindholm and Redmayne were doing too much to portray Charles differenly it doesn’t give him any charisma. Both Chastain and Redmayne’s performances are wooden. And there’s never really any understanding of why Charles did what he did as he was admitted to 29 homicides but might have committed about 400 homicides in all. It’s suspected here and in the Killer Nurse documentary, the hospitals were responsible for corporate malfeasance.

This movie doesn’t even know what type of diagnosis to make.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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