The Good Nurse

The Good Nurse

An infamous caregiver is implicated in the deaths of hundreds of hospital patients.

Charles Cullen was a nurse who worked in various hospitals in New Jersey for 16 years, until he was arrested in 2003 due to a series of suspicious deaths of patients in his care. It was later discovered that he was a serial killer, with 29 confirmed murders to his name, and potentially many, many more. He preyed on primarily elderly people who were already sick, and this played a large part in how he managed to escape justice for such a long time. ‘The Good Nurse’, a movie based on Charles Graeber’s true crime novel focusing on the case, attempts to explore how Cullen managed to get away with his crimes for so long, and how the American hospital system’s failure to act ultimately let down and led to the deaths of many more individuals at Cullen’s hands.

We view this story through Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain), a single mother and nurse who works in an ICU unit at one of the hospitals where Cullen ends up working. She forms a bond with Cullen and becomes good friends with him, even sharing a secret about herself that could lead to her dismissal if caught. When an elderly patient dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances, the hospital board report it to the police before immediately trying to downplay any suggestion of foul play, but they’ve piqued the interest of the detectives in charge who aren’t so quick to accept the hospitals version of events. This brings them towards Amy, who has discovered the deceased patient was administered insulin when she didn’t need it, although initially she is also dismissive of any attempts to link Cullen to the case. That soon changes when more patients die and further circumstantial evidence becomes harder to ignore.

The Good Nurse’ is one of those films that will always struggle to be truly thrilling because we know the end result and we’ve got a fair idea of how things are going to play out, and I don’t think it ever really manages to elevate itself beyond that broad outline. It does feature a solidly chilling performance from Eddie Redmayne as Cullen, and Jessica Chastain is as good as ever as Amy, particularly excelling as she starts to realise her ‘friend’ may be responsible for such horrific crimes. ‘The Good Nurse’ is an enjoyable drama with strong leading performances, that makes this worth a watch even as its screenplays struggles to truly compel consistently throughout its 2 hour long runtime.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Nnamdi Asomugha, Noah Emmerich, Kim Dickens, Malik Yoba and Maria Dizzia

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