‘The Good Nurse’ Avoids Serial Killer Sensationalism in Favor of the Larger Image


Trendy audiences have turn into more and more insatiable with regards to their need for content material revolving round infamous serial killers, unsolved instances, and long-running mysteries, whether or not that’s by characteristic movies, episodic reveals, documentaries or podcasts. Sensationalism can usually be used as a crutch to fall again on, however Netflix’s upcoming true-life thriller The Good Nurse (premiering on October 26) properly focuses on the larger image reasonably than the horrific crimes themselves, which is to the movie’s immense profit.

Director Tobias Lindholm’s slow-burning mixture of character-driven drama, investigative procedural, and unsettling take a look at the injury performed by turning a blind eye may have taken the straightforward approach out and positioned most of its deal with the stunning atrocities dedicated by Charles Cullen, a nurse who was convicted of killing 29 sufferers throughout a 16 year-career working in hospitals throughout america.

Nonetheless, specialists imagine he could also be answerable for as much as 400 deaths, which might make him one of the prolific serial killers in recorded historical past. Whereas that kind of eye-catching soundbite may have been used as an mass-marketing hook with which to construct a narrative catered to the voracious urge for food viewers have for such morbid tales, The Good Nurse thrives as a result of it’s much more concerned with asking the query “why was this allowed to occur?” reasonably than “how did he get away with it?”.

the good nurse
Cr. JoJo Whilden / Netflix

It helps immeasurably that Academy Award-nominated 1917 author Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ script is measured, considerate, and infrequently heart-wrenching with out being something near cloying or on-the-nose, whereas the 2 central performances from Jessica Chastain as Amy Loughren and Eddie Redmayne’s Cullen are each bit as riveting as you’d anticipate from a pair of Oscar winners getting the prospect to sink their enamel into such weighty materials.

Even in case you’re not acquainted with the ins and outs of the case, Lindholm deftly units the stage within the very first scene. Shot in an more and more excruciating lengthy take as varied medical personnel rush in to desperately attempt to save the lifetime of a coding affected person, the digicam slowly pulls in on Redmayne. He could have been the one who known as for assist in the primary place, however his expression turns into more and more clean because the shot closes in, an unsettling introduction to somebody that’s mastered the artwork of refusing to let their veneer crack when persons are watching.

From there, we’re launched to Chastain’s single mom, desperately attempting to juggle her household life with the day-to-day trials and tribulations of engaged on the ward, and that’s with out even mentioning a probably life-threatening coronary heart situation that stretches her more and more skinny on each the bodily and emotional entrance. When Redmayne’s Charlie begins on the identical shift, she views him as one thing akin to a godsend after he helps lighten the load on each fronts, to the extent he’s shortly welcomed into her household.

the good nurse
Cr. JoJo Whilden / Netflix

On the identical time, the police are trying right into a string of unexplainable deaths, however they’re being stonewalled by the hospital’s authority figures. The highest brass are reluctant to offer documentation to help the investigation, and so they appear keenly conscious {that a} suspiciously excessive quantity of sufferers have mysteriously handed away, however the looming risk of authorized culpability had been something to be uncovered or admitted has them sworn to silence in a damning indictment of the healthcare system.

Noah Emmerich and Nnamdi Asomugha’s dogged cops aren’t going to surrender and not using a struggle, although, and the 2 strands of the narrative ultimately dovetail when it transpires that no person at any of Charlie’s former locations of employment are keen to debate or disclose any particulars of his residency or departure, with Amy’s worst fears turning into more and more actual as she reconnects with a former colleague who tells her flat-out that the physique rely dropped dramatically when her new BFF moved on.

Redmayne has all the time possessed an effervescent allure and underlying sense of innocence, which is strictly what makes his flip so haunting. Even because the partitions start to shut in round him, the facade of a well-to-do and useful skilled stays firmly in place, however when the masks does slip – the outbursts of emotion, rage, and fury are jarring. Whether or not it’s deliberate or not, there’s positively a Norman Bates vibe in place, with the actor proving more and more discomforting and unnerving as his double life bubbles to the floor, all whereas he resolutely refuses to interrupt character as something aside from happy-go-lucky Charlie.

the good nurse
Cr. JoJo Whilden / Netflix

He’s received a superb sparring companion in Chastain, too, who presents Amy as a strong-willed and unyieldingly resilient drive, albeit one who’s solely ever barely managing to remain afloat as she’s plunged headlong into an unfathomable scenario the place her well being, well-being, profession, buddies, and household are all positioned below a highlight so vivid it threatens to burn every little thing she is aware of and likes to the bottom.

Among the Appearing with a capital “A” could also be a little bit an excessive amount of for some, and one scene in direction of the tip is in severe hazard of turning into the web’s subsequent Nicolas Cage-level meme, however in case you solid a pair of Oscar winners in a harrowing dramatization of unspeakable occasions, then the occasional exaggerated line studying or navel-gazing introspection is an anticipated a part of the deal.

Both approach, The Good Nurse manages to succeed at being each an enormous and small movie on the identical time. It focuses completely on a small variety of pivotal figures, however takes goal on the American financial system, the paperwork of the medical trade, and the rampant deal with the capitalistic aspect of life-saving (or ending, on this case) therapies on the expense of the human aspect. It’s a fragile tightrope to stroll, and there could also be a few near-misses alongside the way in which, however it by no means comes near falling off.