The Good Nurse is a crime thriller directed by Tobias Lindholm and based on the story of the serial killer nurse Charles Cullen. The film had its premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival before it was streamed to Netflix.
Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) is a struggling single mom working as a night nurse in New Jersey. Her health is bad, but she has to work a certain amount of time before her health insurance kicks in. New nurse Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) becomes friends with her and helps her with her struggles. Soon, patients on her floor and shift start to die at unusual rates. When state police investigators Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) ask her about the strange deaths at the hospital, she begins to wonder if Cullen is involved when she notices bizarre behavior from him.
This film is based on the 2013 nonfiction book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by author Charles Graeber. I am not familiar with the book so I cannot compare it.
The performances of Chastain and Redmayne are top-notch. They really dedicated themselves to their roles, but they got some bad direction. This was an incredibly muted film with its dialogue. Despite the setting and source material, it felt very pulled back with actors rarely showing any charisma except for one scene. Again, I do not fault the actors as this was clearly a directorial decision that I think did a disservice to the movie.
That being said, I did feel pulled into a story. Charles Cullen is a clearly evil man for targeting the weakest among us for his prey. All serial killers are evil and this movie in no way glorified his activities. They showed him for what he was, a cruel person who took joy in murdering innocent people for sport. Redmayne did a good job of showing the manipulation tactics and charm he used to ingratiate himself with his colleagues, making it even more sinister.
I also appreciated how they criticized the medical community for allowing Charles Cullen to continue his activities. Instead of punishing him, he jumped from one medical facility to the next. It took over three dozen victims for him to get noticed and the film does a good job of highlighting this.
Bottom line, while The Good Nurse lacks some charisma, it is an enthralling tale of how evil was allowed to thrive in a field about helping people.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some foul language, Disturbing medical issues
FAVORITE QUOTE: They didn’t stop me.
Check out the trailer below:
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