An overworked nurse is tasked with capturing a serial killer
Film | Jorge Ignacio Castillo | Oct. 27, 2022
The Good Nurse
Netflix, Now Playing
Say you’ve won an Oscar. You’re widely acknowledged as one of the best in your craft. Where do you go from there? Apparently, you sign on for a flaccid thriller devoid of any sense of dread or fun.
The Good Nurse stars Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne. Both have done far more interesting (even misguided) work, and it’s hard to understand what they’re doing in this limp endeavour. One would also expect more from director Tobias Lindholm, the Danish wunderkind who wrote the excellent Another Round and The Hunt.
Inspired by a real case perhaps more suitable for a true crime podcast than a movie, The Good Nurse tells the story of Amy Loughren (Chastain), a single-mother-of-two struggling to hold on to her job as a night nurse. She finds a sympathetic ear in Charlie Cullen (Redmayne), a new hire at the hospital. Around the same time, the mortality rate at the ICU starts to rise due to suspicious overdoses.
Road-blocked by hospital administration more concerned with legal liability than the wellbeing of patients, the police recruit the overwhelmed Loughren to gather information and maybe elicit a confession from Cullen. I’m no expert, but I don’t think this is standard practice.
The Good Nurse makes no effort to mask Cullen’s guilt (he famously tampered with IV bags, and continued to get hired at different hospitals because of the U.S.’s chronic shortage of nurses). Rather than explore what made him tick, or how he got away with murder again and again due to the unwillingness of hospitals to share information to avoid lawsuits, Lindholm opts to dwell on Loughren’s struggle as a single mother to maintain a work-life balance: can a busy nurse working undercover ever have it all?
Chastain is fine in a not particularly demanding role, while Redmayne stinks the joint by going from subdued to Jupiter Ascending in a nanosecond. Sadly, this only happens towards the end. Too bad. Two hours of Redmayne chewing the scenery would have been camp gold. ■