The Good Nurse

A well-acted drama about a sick nurse and a bad nurse.

“The Good Nurse” is a refreshing drama with Jessica Chastain as a struggling nurse and Eddie Redmayne as another nurse named Charlie Cullen, who murdered patients by overdosing them with insulin in their IV bags. Released on Netflix, and based on Charles Graeber’s book, the movie takes its time to shows us the relationship between these two people, and how one is willing to expose the other.

I just found out this bad nurse was real, and that he’s serving a life sentence, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up being interested in how he gets caught and how his friendship (if you want to call it that) with the good nurse would turn out.

The nurse Chastain plays is a single mom named Amy Loughran, who works night shift at the ICU, and finds out she’s poised to get a life-threatening heart condition, if she doesn’t take medical leave soon. She has no health insurance, because she needs a whole year in order to receive that, and she only has 4 months left.

Then comes Charlie Cullen, who offers to help Amy with her pathos, but ends up becoming the prime suspect in the recent deaths of his patients. So, she must get to the bottom of this nightmare, which threatens her career and daughters.

When she arranges a meeting with him, she’s scared beyond words, but she tries to keep her cool, and the tension that the time develops is real and provocative.

Chastain gives an exceptional performance in the ways her characters reacts to her serious condition and the horrors Cullen has committed. Equally excellent is Redmayne who draws us in as the wolf in sheep’s clothing, especially during his introduction and when he finally get interrogated. He seems thoughtful enough to help her get better, but he also has the tone and mannerisms of a psycho with tricks up his sleeve. And likable supporting work comes from both Noah Emmerich and Nnamdi Asomughha as the main detectives trying to help crack this case, one of the victims they can’t get an autopsy on, because she was cremated.

The screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917,” “Last Night in Soho”) tends to get sappy with one of Amy’s two daughters-Maya (Devyn McDowell)- being unhappy with how she has to work a lot, as well as some other small formulas. But the direction by Tobias Lindholm (the director of “A Hijacking” and writer on “Another Round”) keeps us interested in how the good nurse needs to get better, while needing to work to provide for her family, and how the bad nurse tries to covers up his crimes.

There have been many movies about real-life serial killers like “Zodiac,” which was about the Zodiac killer, or “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Vile, and Evil,” which was about Ted Bundy.” And “The Good Nurse” wants to follow in their footsteps with the convictions. It was also produced by Darren Aronofsky, who specializes in dramas about heart conditions or drugs, as demonstrated in “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Wrestler.”

Watching “The Good Nurse” on Netflix has the same analogy of reading a book that punches you in the face. It shifts in tones and keeps the realism in tact, thanks to the filmmakers and actors. This is something to see or listen to while you’re reading a book at the couch. You’re able to multitask on this one.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Now Playing in Select Theaters and Streaming on Netflix

Categories: Biography, Crime, Drama

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