The Good Nurse Review | An Absorbing Crime Drama With Brilliant Performances

The Good Nurse is based on the real-life story of a serial killer named Charles Cullen. The movie, directed by Tobias Lindholm, has the limitation that they don’t have any massive suspense as the story is out in public. The screenplay by Krysty Wilson-Cairns approaches the story from the perspective of a single mother nurse named Amy Loughren, and the film works more as an impressive character study.

The story is set in 2003 when Charles Cullen worked in the Parkfield Memorial Hospital. Nurse Amy Loughren, who was struggling with cardiomyopathy, finds Charles very helpful, and she even introduces him to her daughters. Almost seven months into Cullen’s joining, the hospital officials found some medication errors in the death of a particular patient and decided to inform the cops about it. The investigation that happens with a limited scope to convict the killer is what we see in The Good Nurse.

As I said, the script’s perspective is mainly from Amy’s eyes. Her third-person view helps the movie make us feel the disbelief people had in viewing Cullen as a man with cruel intentions. Cullen never becomes an intimidating figure as he is not violent in nature. Even to show Cullen’s intelligence, the script uses Amy’s experiences with him. And they leave traces of Cullen’s life philosophy here and there to formulate a hypothesis in the viewer’s head about what could have made that man this monster.

The top-notch performances of Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne make this thriller an absorbing watch. Jessica knows how to play the empathetic nurse act. The way she panicked as she uncovered the truth also looked genuinely chilling. Redmayne is not at all trying to be nerdy in his portrayal of Charles Cullen. Since the investigation could not find the real motive behind all these murders, there is a bit of a mystery with this man that will make you wonder whether some injustice had happened to him. And Redmayne’s performance also maintains that sense of mystery.

In the very first shot of the movie that escalates really fast in a slow dolly zoom, Tobias Lindholm pretty much shows us the modus operandi of the central character. The pale blue color tone and the various shades of that blue keep the movie in the same moody zone. The narrative speed is kept in a realistic tempo; hence, almost every frame here is static, and even the ones that move are on the smoother side. The cuts and the background score resonate with the movie’s gentler approach toward mystery and shock.

If a character-centric approach in thrillers fascinates you rather than the suspense and twists, this real-life based crime drama is an absorbing watch. Even that climax which feels like a sequence they created using cinematic liberty, feels right, considering what all Amy knew about Cullen.

Final Thoughts

If a character-centric approach in thrillers fascinates you rather than the suspense and twists, this real-life based crime drama is an absorbing watch.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.