Given their propensity for the dramatic, it’s interesting to see Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne in a supporting roles in “The Good Nurse,” which premiered at TIFF and will debut on Netflix in October.
The entire film suffers from the problem of being in a minor key. It’s almost as if the filmmakers were so moved by the courage of the true story’s protagonist that they forgot to give the film a beating heart.
While “The Good Nurse” does show admirable restraint, given the genre’s propensity to over-do projects like this one, it also glosses over some issues (such as a hospital system so broken in its overprotective state) and reduces its characters to a short list of definable traits. However, a solemn tone doesn’t necessarily imply complexity.
She is wrong, however, because the new nurse, Charles Cullen (Redmayne), befriends Amy and offers to assist her with both her patients and her children. Charles initially appears to be a savior, a coworker who is aware of Amy’s secret and is willing to offer assistance.
Amy is unaware that the hospital, represented by the cold and heartless Kim Dickens, has notified the authorities about the mysterious death of one of her patients.
A woman suddenly coded, and tests revealed she had an abnormally high level of insulin in her blood. It’s obvious that she overdosed, and the hospital probably only informed the police in case they faced legal repercussions.
Officers Noah Emmerich and Nnamdi Asomugha play begin to dig, and they discover Mr. Cullen has a disturbing work history involving nine other hospitals, all of which he left with rumors swirling. Then, sadly, another one of Amy’s patients passes away.
Redmayne Goes Off The Rails
Even though it’s a high-budget drama starring two Oscar winners, the way everything plays out is shockingly conventional. When compared to other works in the true crime genre, “The Good Nurse” seems almost routine due to its lack of visual and narrative daring.
Unfortunately, Eddie Redmayne is the weakest link in the cast. However convincing his portrayal of Charles Cullen may be, it’s hard to believe no one suspected him of being a serial killer before now.
Mild and dependent for the majority of the film, he suddenly explodes into a shouting fit that was probably meant to be his Oscar clip. It won’t give the audience the shivers they were hoping for; instead, they’ll probably just laugh.
Perhaps I’m being too critical. The experience of watching “The Good Nurse” is not bad at all. Some of the hospital deaths of people who were there for easily treatable conditions and had their whole lives ahead of them are genuinely touching.
Appropriately frustrating is the hospital administration’s behavior in throwing up roadblocks at every turn of the investigation, and the revelation of the serial killer’s ability to pose as a healer for so long comes as a shock to the system.
But the film as a whole gives the impression that it’s trying to be the highbrow equivalent of a true crime drama but falls short because it’s so… unimaginative. “The Good Nurse” isn’t terrible, but it also doesn’t do much to improve upon the average.
Critical Analysis Of “The Good Nurse”
Amy is a single mother who works nights so that she can be with her children during the day. She has trouble covering basic living expenses like a babysitter, let alone more expensive ones like the private doctor she needs to see for her imminent heart surgery.
The hospital won’t treat her because they’ll fire her if they find out the truth. And it will be a few more months before she meets the requirements for health insurance. (The film persuasively argues for the underappreciation of nurses in the United States; it’s absurd to think that a nurse who saves lives can’t afford her own health insurance.)
Cullen comes in during the night shift, and Amy’s boss says he comes highly recommended. He seems kind and hardworking, so Amy and her kids quickly warm up to him, and he promises to help Amy keep her illness a secret by, among other things, stealing medication from the hospital’s automated dispensing system by canceling an order in order to obtain the drugs in question. As this is going on, Amy’s elderly patient mysteriously passes away. Her husband’s heart is broken. The police have started asking questions.
Instantly, two detectives suspect something is amiss. The hospital’s shady corporate overlords prioritize saving their for-profit institution over protecting lives, and their dogged investigators, played by Nnamdi Asomugha and Noah Emmerich, are blocked at every turn. Kim Dickens gives a chilling performance as a hospital administrator who used to be a nurse.
Amy, despite initially standing up for Charlie, is the one person who knows better than anyone how he could have gamed the system. Eventually, as more people start dying, she figures out that he’s been messing with the system. The police, however, require additional evidence.
In the final act, as her friend begins to unravel, Chastain shines as she is overcome with fear but determined to intervene in any way she can. Redmayne’s role is to portray the banality of evil to the audience. He deftly depicts the veneer beginning to crack, save for one particularly jarring instance.
Thus, we solved the mystery and learned how it was done. However, those hoping to learn WHY Cullen committed such a heinous act will be left disappointed (the real man appeared on “60 Minutes” and basically had no explanation, instead backing away from a weak mercy-killing claim).
The filmmakers deserve praise for not creating a story motivation where none existed. That is not necessary. This true story’s bare horror is more than sufficient.
FAQs – People Also Ask
Is the good nurse a true story?
Serial killer Charles Cullen’s real-life story, inspired by Netflix’s “The Good Nurse.” The events leading up to Cullen’s arrest for patient murder are the focus of the Netflix film, which is a fictionalized account. You can find a timeline of the actual events here.
What is the good nurse movie based on?
Taking place in a hospital in 2022, The Good Nurse is an American drama film starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne as two nurses, one of whom suspects the other of being responsible for a string of patient deaths. The film is based on Charles Graeber’s true-crime book about serial killer Charles Cullen, which was published in 2013.
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