‘The Good Nurse’ Review: Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne in a Chilling Medical Crime Drama


A real-crime image whose chilling results are generated with no whiff of the manipulation that usually comes with such movies, Tobias Lindholm’s The Good Nurse watches as a veteran caregiver (Jessica Chastain) realizes her new finest buddy at work (Eddie Redmayne) could also be killing their sufferers.

That reality is up entrance in loglines and promotional supplies, which is a disgrace, as a result of the very nice drama works even higher for somebody who walks in understanding solely the celebs’ and director’s names: Such a viewer — who may guess that the “good nurse” in query is Redmayne, innocently caught in a scandal of hospital paperwork — feels the drama’s heartbreak greater than is feasible in any other case. Either manner, the image is an assured English-language debut for Lindholm, a someday Thomas Vinterberg collaborator and director of Danish movies A War, A Hijacking and R.

The Good Nurse

The Bottom Line

A gripping however refreshingly unmanipulative true-crime tragedy.

Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentation)
Release date: October 19 (Netflix)
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, Malik Yoba, Alix West Lefler, Noah Emmerich
Director: Tobias Lindholm
Screenwriter: Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Rated R,
2 hours 1 minutes

Chastain’s Amy, a single mom, spends her time caring for others whereas making an attempt to cover her personal ailment: She has a coronary heart illness that causes frequent episodes of problem respiration; her physician says she’s susceptible to dying quickly from it, except she will get a transplant. But regardless of working in a hospital, she’s nonetheless a number of months away from qualifying for work insurance coverage. Paying for a transplant is inconceivable except she manages to remain on the job, whatever the ache and stress it causes.

None of Amy’s coworkers discover her problem. But new rent Charlie (Redmayne) does, and leaps in to supply assist. He slips acceptable meds out of the hospital’s pharmacy, and covers for her when wanted. As the 2 get to know one another, he turns into a beloved and useful a part of her household. Wearing cozy cardigans over his scrubs, he’s so attentive to the consolation and dignity of their sufferers that it’s onerous to think about him making a mistake, a lot much less doing intentional hurt.

But when one of many aged sufferers on their ground dies, hospital directors rapidly shut ranks, seeming to know they’ve one thing massive to cover even when they’re not sure what it’s. Seven weeks after the demise, the corporate’s danger officer (Kim Dickens, creepily company) is compelled to alert police to the unexplained occasion, however retains utilizing inside investigations as an excuse to not inform them the whole lot she is aware of. The detectives are flummoxed to study the physique was cremated, so even when there’s suspicion of wrongdoing, there’s no case to pursue.

Warning lights could blink for the viewer when Charlie makes references to earlier jobs or cities he lived in. He complains that his ex-wife received’t let him see their kids, that office pettiness precipitated somebody to make a bogus criticism about him. Redmayne delivers this news like somebody who’s omitting particulars solely to keep away from embarrassment, or out of modesty, not eager to be the focal point. But rumors begin circulating about unexplained deaths in different hospitals that employed him.

While Lindholm screens the coworkers’ friendship, Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ screenplay (based mostly on the guide by Charles Graeber) effectively makes use of procedural scenes to uncover a rot on this and different for-profit hospitals’ liability-reduction methods. Since acknowledging their suspicions about Charlie would open the door to wrongful-death lawsuits and possibly extra, earlier employers would merely hearth him quietly, by no means saying why and by no means acknowledging any downside to outsiders like different potential employers. He moved from one job to the following like a child-molesting priest, injecting insulin and different clear medication into IV luggage to trigger random, fast deaths.

When Amy lastly accepts this as a chance, she’s compelled to play undercover agent. Since there’s no physique to look at, she has to snoop round for various sorts of proof, all with out spooking Charlie or letting her bosses discover out she’s serving to investigators. Chastain communicates the agony of this quietly basically, however a few scenes make the risk to Amy’s household so clear she seems like she could unravel. For Redmayne’s half, up till the top it’s solely settings and circumstances that make him threatening; he’s so even in his air of concern and friendship, you surprise if Charlie by some means sequesters the information of what he does, permitting himself to reside most of his day as the perfect nurse he seems to be.

Once the inevitable occurs and Charlie should confront police, Redmayne avoids psycho-killer cliches, exhibiting a deep and convincing ache at even being made to consider what Charlie has executed. There’s no “we got him!” pleasure available right here, particularly not when closing titles inform us how many individuals he killed and be aware how lengthy he labored with out being stopped by these with sturdy suspicions. If American moviegoers want extra causes to detest a healthcare system ruled by the revenue motive, right here’s one other one. Yet under the company suite, healthcare staff proceed to do their finest — just like the real-life Amy, the film’s precise “good nurse,” who after Charlie’s arrest acquired again to work and stayed there.


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