#TIFF22: “THE GOOD NURSE”
By Amanda Gilmore
This True Crime Thriller is about Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) a nurse who over a 16-year career confessed to killing 29 people, although the actual number is believed to be much higher. The Film follows Amy (Jessica Chastain), a nurse who worked with Charles and helped the detectives get their confession.
Director Tobias Lindholm, making his English language Feature Debut, creates an enthralling murder mystery Film. He opens on a patient dying with Charles, in his uniform, eerily looking on while many doctors and nurses try to save the life. There’s no doubt that something isn’t quite right with him. It’s this knowledge that we carry with us throughout, even in his tender moments, mostly shared with Amy. Redmayne is cast perfectly in this highly mysterious performance that captivates.
Screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns brilliantly adapts the novel The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber. Her tight Script builds tension while highlighting America’s health care system. We learn that Amy must complete her first year at the hospital before getting health insurance for her life-or-death heart transplant. This makes The Good Nurse more than your typical true crime chiller. It critiques the unjust health care system and insurance requirements.
Then we arrive at the detective part of The Good Nurse. It digs into unethical health care practices within the institutions. We fully become aware of exactly what Charles did, which is shocking and horrifying. However, the investigation exposes how these hospitals that employed Charles, were culpable. For instance, the hospital he works at with Amy refuses to hand over the evidence of their internal investigation. They had suspicions about he committed the murders, yet, they refused to own up to it. And in their refusal, they allowed him to continue.
He was only stopped due to the fearless help of Amy. Once again Chastain is extraordinary. The complexity of her performance is immense and she lands every beat. It’s mesmerizing to watch her come to the realization of the horrific acts he committed. Both Chastain and Redmayne deliver tour-de-force performances.
The Good Nurse screens as follows at TIFF ’22:
Fri, Sep 16 IN-PERSON at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 9:00 am
Sat, Sep 17 IN-PERSON at Roy Thompson Hall at 11:00 am
Sun, Sep 18 IN-PERSON at TIFF Bell Lightbox at 12:00 pm