“They didn’t stop me.”

The lucrative world of true crime is not lost on the movie industry, and it show with the release of this year’s thriller, The Good Nurse. Not only a film playing with such a popular genre, it was also able to acquire the likes of both Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne. Power hitters such as these would render any film complete with Oscar buzz, am I right?

The Good Nurse, (though I keep wanting to call it The Good Wife, no doubt part of some type of “good” multiverse) introduces us to Amy (Chastain), your average nurse who works the graveyard shift at her local hospital. She’s soon diagnosed with a heart condition that causes her to gasp for breath between caring for her patients. But before she can receive any type of medical care, she has to work at the hospital for a year before receiving health insurance. So she finds time to herself in dark quiet rooms, gripping her chest in agony, catching her breath.

Though the hospital is in financial distress, Amy’s supervisor allows one gift to help with the heavy influx of nightly patients: the hiring of a new, well-qualified nurse named Charles Cullen (Redmayne).  Charles is a sweet human being and not only gives the impression that he is a caring nurse, which Amy very much needs at this time, but he also embraces her as a friend. Their nights working together, though long and arduous, aren’t as bad, because they are able to confide and lean on each other.  

After the death of an elderly patient, which was initially explained by her age, the hospital is soon investigated by police for malpractice. The information about what was in the woman’s bloodstream proves to be abnormal, leading the detectives Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) to dive deeper into surrounding deaths—even as far reaching as other cities. They enlist Amy, the one nurse that is willing to help, and inform her about Charles. However, is the man she’s gotten to know so well, capable of hurting such vulnerable human beings?

Based on the non-fiction book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder, any true crime nerd will get their kicks from this film. With that being said, Chastain and Redmayne, though as talented as they are, are confined to a box, constricted within the characters they play. It may be the source material, or just the adaptation, but there isn’t much meat besides the straightforward crime. A simple A to Z type movie. You don’t peel the layers to this murderous fiend to reveal some type of multi-dimensional criminal, or have a climactic showdown. It’s just over. I’d give more to explain my point, but I’m afraid I’d spoil too much. Because it’s based on a true story, I don’t want to needlessly criticize the film on that element. If it didn’t happen, I’d rather they just keep it like it is versus add some fictionalized moment for grandeur effect. Redmayne does have one scene where he breaks into his realm of great acting by portraying such a mad man, but it’s so short that it never really does the film any justice to make up for what it lacks.

I can say that for the most part I still enjoyed The Good Nurse as it kept me intrigued for a good part of its runtime. It just left me wanting more. Netflix has a decent movie on its hands, but I don’t see any rumblings of awards in its future.

The Good Nurse

Directed by: Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kim Dickens, and Noah Emmerich

Rating: C