Tuesday, October 18, 2022

When evil lives among us


   Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne give strong performances in The Good Nurse, a reality-based thriller grounded in the hospital environment in which two intensive-care nurses ply their trade.
   It's hardly a spoiler to tell you that Redmayne's Charlie Cullen is a serial killer whose kindly affect and cunning skill with computer systems enables him to obtain drugs that he uses to murder patients. 
   Gradually, we learn that Charlie has a checkered history. Many of his previous employers regarded Charlie with suspicion. 
   Fearing law suits and bad publicity, hospitals preferred to get rid of Charlie rather than call in the law. Demand for nurses being high, Charlie simply moved to the next job.
   Chastain portrays Amy Loughren, a New Jersey nurse with two daughters and severe health issues. Amy needs a heart transplant but can't take medical leave because she hasn't been employed long enough to qualify for it. Besides, her work-related health insurance has yet to take effect.
   Charlie builds a relationship with Amy, helping her to keep her job and offering support with her two daughters. She sees him as a good nurse and friend -- until she no longer can ignore the truth. 
   Director Tobias Lindholm works in a quiet style that keeps the lid on melodrama with Nnamdi Asomugha and Noah Emmerich playing hard-working detectives who try to stop the string of killings. A hospital administrator (Kim Dickens) offers little help. Her priority: protect the hospital. 
    Lindholm puts complex issues on the table: the inadequacies of the American health care system, the timidity of medical bureaucrats, and the vulnerability of a good person to someone with heinous motives.
   Not all of these issues register equally but Chastain and Redmayne bring credibility to a story that would seem beyond belief if the core of it weren’t based on a real case involving one of the most egregious violations of trust imaginable.

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