The Good Nurse
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain, Denise Pillott, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Kim Dickens
“The Good Nurse” is a horror movie for adults who don’t like horror movies. With Netflix’s “Dahmer” dominating the streaming service's top spot and Halloween around the corner, “The Good Nurse” benefits on both fronts. While not entirely classified as a horror film, the shocking true story will always come to mind when you see a saline bag. Danish Writer/Director Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt, A War) might deliver his first English language film but is no stranger to intense dramas. His directed by Oscar nominee Thomas Vinterberg is more prestigious and renowned, but “The Good Nurse” builds into quite a goosebump-inducing home movie night. Chastain’s first film since winning the Oscar for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” exhibits how she and co-star, Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl, can elevate a mediocre script.
Nurse Amy Loughren (Chastain) becomes the only person detectives can turn to about a co-worker suspected of murdering patients. Amy, a single mother of two, works the graveyard shift at the local underfunded ER. She has a heart condition that requires a transplant if she can make it four more months for insurance to kick in. The understaffed hospital recently hired Charlie Cullen (Redmayne), a nurse with experience having worked at nine different hospitals. The meek Charlie has become a dependable co-worker and Amy’s friend, someone she has allowed into her home, a father figure for her girls. Recent deaths on her floor prompt Amy to investigate, producing disturbing conclusions.
"Redmayne’s casting as the docile Charlie with a dark secret is quite a genius gamble..."
Nearly the entire film is shot in dark hospital light to add a creep factor. The filmmakers have turned a fascinating and detailed story on paper into a thriller with exemplary performances and an ominous musical score. The music and cinematic choices of the film stoke our interest in the plot, which is relatively cut and dry on its own. Someone could quickly reduce “The Good Nurse” to a Halloween episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” However, Lindholm fleshes out this complex story from varying perspectives, showing how the detectives and hospital administration cover their tracks. Both Kim Dickens (Gone Girl) and Nnamdi Asomugha (Sylvie’s Love) gave superb supporting performances.
Redmayne’s performance in the third act isn’t cut and dry. Redmayne’s casting as the docile Charlie with a dark secret is quite a genius gamble, as most of his on-screen performance is what you expect from the actor. The “Fantastic Beasts” actor flexes acting muscles previously unseen, and the response will make the hairs on your arm stand up. “The Good Nurse” has a solid final act that’s suspenseful and a worthy payoff for our patience. If slasher films are not your forte this spooky season, but true stories about serial killers interest you, “The Good Nurse” offers the right balance.
Oscar winners Chastain & Redmayne are excellent in this slasher movie alternative for Halloween.