THE GOOD NURSE (2022) l Netflix | October 26, 2022
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, Malik Yoba, Alix West Lefler, Noah Emmerich
Director: Tobias Lindholm
Suspicious that her colleague is responsible for a series of mysterious patient deaths, a nurse risks her own life to uncover the truth in this gripping thriller based on true events.
TIFF REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
The Good Nurse is a chilling film that weaves an intoxicating story that highlights the horrors of this true crime tale, anchored by the excellent Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne.
True crime stories are all the rage currently, but the subject matter of The Good Nurse makes this one of the most terrifying productions in this genre that I have recently seen. The film follows Chastain’s Amy Loughren, a single mother and nurse, struggling with her own personal health problems, who begins to suspect that her new colleague is responsible for a series of unexplainable patient deaths at her hospital.
When we think of health care workers, especially after the thick of the pandemic, we immediately think of compassion, heroics and a tireless work ethic dedicated to caring for their patients. Which is what makes this story so chilling, because the story is a complete violation of trust in a system that is meant to be there for the patient, not one where a serial killer can stalk and kill indiscriminately and unchecked. And on top of that gross betrayal of trust, we have a private hospital trying desperately to bury any evidence and hide the truth to prevent any damage to their profit margins. The screenplay starts off slowly introducing the characters and the hospital politics at play in an intriguing manner, but does not hold back in the thrilling second half of the film which will have you trembling in your seat until its terrifying conclusion. It’s a truly disgusting story on two fronts, which only makes the heroics of Chastain’s Amy to be that much more important.
Amy is a real life superhero as she fights to find justice for her patients and to prevent any future deaths, despite the health risk the entire ordeal has on her body and her future job security as she is in direct violation of her employment contract. Chastain infuses Amy with a grit and steel that makes for a compelling lead character, while finding a compassion and vulnerability to her character that has you holding your breath for the entire second half of the film, praying for her safety and health. Like all of her previous performances, Chastain is excellent from start to finish, bringing to life another incredible woman full of complexity and depth, adding another wonderful performance to her filmography.
Though, the scene stealer is Eddie Redmayne as Charlie Cullen. Redmayne has made a career playing likeable, endearing and slightly socially awkward characters like Newt Scamander, which makes him the perfect fit for the role of a serial killer. His quiet and deliberate mannerisms when paired with a sinister role, make Redmayne absolutely terrifying. Especially in the final act in the diner scene and when he is being interrogated. You can see his intelligent brain spinning behind his cold eyes, where Redmayne quickly becomes as chilling as other infamous cinematic serial killers like Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. I am not kidding, I had trouble falling asleep after Redmayne’s performance and he had me jumping in my seat because he was perfect at being pure evil. Kim Dickens and Noah Emmerich are the main supporting performances, and the two of them are perfectly cast in their roles, but this film belongs to Chastain and Redmayne.
Just as excellent as the performances is Tobias Lindholm’s direction of the film. Having directed two episodes of Mindhunter, there is no better choice to direct this film than Lindholm. Lindholm has crafted a dark film that keeps tensions high throughout. He has selected a very muted colour palette of grays and dark greens to create a gloomy atmosphere for the film, combined with some cinematography that creates a claustrophobic feeling for the visuals, there is an inherent sense of dread and fear in every shot. The shots linger on the empty and cold looking hospital at specific moments, helping to create the feeling that there is something sinister going on that cannot be detected by the human eye, further toying with the violation of trust inherent in the story.
Complementing this tone is Biosphere’s electronic musical score which feels cold and calculated, creating a chilling soundscape to match the visuals and performances. My only complaint of the film is that it could have used some tighter editing in the first half, and possibly shaved off five minutes to create a better paced film, but it’s such a minor issue as I was on the edge of my seat for the entire film. Tobias Lindholm’s direction of The Good Nurse is masterful, but it is Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne’s lead performances that make this latest Netflix original a must see film!
RATING: 4 out of 5