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#TIFF22 Review: The Good Nurse (Special Presentations)

September 13, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to 18th.

Directed by Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm, a frequent collaborator of Thomas Vinterberg who co-wrote The Hunt and Another Round, The Good Nurse is a surprisingly solid Netflix serial killer thriller that is different than expected, but in a good way.

The film is based on the true story of Charlie Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), a notorious nurse turned serial killer who took to silently killing his patients. Charlie is brought on to assist with the night shift at a new hospital, working alongside Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain). Amy is a single mother with a heart condition who befriends him at first and welcomes his support both at work and in her home, but she grows increasingly suspicious by the mysterious deaths of several patients, and starts secretly aiding in an investigation against him.

Based on a book by Charles Graeber, which has been adapted by screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, The Good Nurse turns into a police procedural, as homicide detectives Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) work in tandem with Amy to go up against a mostly uncooperative hospital administration who are half-heartedly doing their own internal investigation. The roughly two hour film does take a little while to get going in the first act (and there is a coda tacked on at the end that doesn’t entirely feel needed), but it becomes quite gripping and very disturbing once it does hit its stride.

At the centre of the film are two excellent performances from Chastain and Redmayne, a pair of Oscar winners (who incidentally both won for showier roles) performing at or near the top of their respective games. Chastain is nicely understated, operating in a determined, almost obsessive mode à la her work in Zero Dark Thirty, and Redmayne is so eerily believable in his role as a quiet but ruthless killer that he becomes genuinely chilling to watch. His final few scenes have a haunted quality to them that is quite unsettling, as he shows an impressive level of control over his voice and facial expressions.

While The Good Nurse could have easily felt cheap or exploitative, Lindholm’s film instead play out with a Fincher-esque coldness to it (Lindholm directed two episodes of David Fincher’s Mindhunter series for Netflix), moving at a calculated and precise pace. The result is an impressively dark, brooding, and mature thriller that unfolds with simmering tension.

Public Screenings:

Sunday, September 11th – 9:45 PM at VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales

Monday, September 12th – 11:30 AM at VISA Screening Room at the Princess of Wales

Friday, September 16th – 9:00 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Saturday, September 17th – 11:00 AM at Roy Thomson Hall

Sunday, September 18th – 12:00 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

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