A film with a title like “The Good Nurse” has loads to reside as much as, for one: that nurse higher be good. Fortunate for “The Good Nurse” (premiering on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant on its method to Netflix) and its viewers, Jessica Chastain shines in a post-Oscar nail-biter as an RN investigating a string of mysterious deaths at her hospital, probably brought on by her new co-worker.
Tobias Lindholm’s “The Good Nurse” is predicated on a ebook of the identical title concerning the serial killer Charles (or Charlie, as he prefers) Cullen, an ICU nurse who would give his sufferers deadly doses of insulin or digoxin whereas they had been hospitalized. Cullen is probably accountable for as much as 400 deaths within the New Jersey space between 1998 and 2003, and is delivered to life with trembling, wincing glory by Eddie Redmayne.
Chastain, alternatively, stars as Amy, primarily based on Amy Loughren, a nurse at Somerset Medical Heart who aided police (performed right here by Noah Emmerich and Nnamdi Asomugha) in investigating Cullen and finally arresting him. As Amy, Chastain is open and heat, caring and considerate. She brings a pure effervescence to the character, the kind of particular person you’d need accountable for you in your time of want.
What’s extra, Amy and Charlie have real affection for each other, and Chastain and Redmayne are well-suited to one another. Each naturally theatrical and extremely technical actors, it’s clear they each carry pleasure and originality to their characters, even when the movie is commonly dour and drab (in an intentional manner).
Amy is a good nurse: attentive in her job, loving in the direction of her youngsters, desperate to please. She’s additionally affected by a coronary heart situation; blood blisters have fashioned on her ventricles, and he or she requires a coronary heart transplant prior to later. She’s been at Somerset for under somewhat greater than half a yr, and he or she must make it to the one-year mark in an effort to get medical health insurance that may cowl the surgical procedure. Her situation makes it robust for her to do tough bodily duties — deal with a comatose affected person’s physique, go up a flight of stairs — in addition to deal with factors of tension, one in every of which is the continuing, unexplained deaths in her office.
Chastain embodies Amy with the sharp earnestness that she brings a lot of her characters, ladies who demand, to some extent or one other, to be taken significantly. She’s nice as Amy partly as a result of each actress and character are attentive to element, process-driven staff who try for a job effectively accomplished.
To ensure that “The Good Nurse” to work, which it principally does, the viewers must imagine that Amy and Charlie could be buddies within the first place, that there’s an intimacy between them that might be upended by the character of his crimes. The movie isn’t notably shy about Charlie’s oddness — this can be a character being performed by Eddie Redmayne, in spite of everything — however alongside Amy, he’s type and considerate along with his sufferers, interested by Amy’s life and sometimes going above and past to assist her out along with her household. The true sufferer of Charlie’s crimes isn’t any single one in every of his victims, a lot as it’s the toll it takes on Amy.
“The Good Nurse” has the additional advantage of being notably well-crafted, with sharp pacing and loads of quiet tenseness. This isn’t a splashy, or perhaps a very violent, serial killer movie. At its finest, “The Good Nurse” is grim and procedural, reminiscent, maybe, of “Highlight” or “The Insider,” motion pictures that veer away from the depiction of the crimes at hand, choosing the drained tedium of getting individuals to go on the report. The movie is an apt 2003-era interval piece: American flag stickers on doorways and police lockers, the guide problem of researching an individual’s previous with out widespread entry to the Web.
It’s additionally fairly a sociopolitical movie, as harsh on the hospital administration as it’s on a person getting away with homicide, if no more so. Amy’s exhausting health-insurance navigation pushes for higher entry to reasonably priced, if not free, well being care, whereas condemning the companies that earn money maintaining sufferers on the road. Resulting from strict NDAs and doctor-patient confidentiality, it took years to crack the Charlie Cullen case as a result of authorized restrictions that stored many mouths shut for years.
“The Good Nurse” is at its weakest when it strives for a way of theatricality. when voices are raised or fists are slammed on tables. These searing indictments inside the movie usually undo all the subtlety of its gentleness and unease, shouting what’s already being mentioned in inside voices. In a serial-killer drama, we don’t want this type of lecturing as an viewers, even when the killer in query is whispery, with poor posture.
If “The Good Nurse” is about something, it’s about dedication and stoic compassion, quite than a headstrong sense of morality, and the movie, like its protagonist, is all the higher for that.
“The Good Nurse” premieres in U.S. theaters Oct. 19 and on Netflix Oct. 26.