THE GOOD DOCTOR
(director: Lance Daly; screenwriter: John Enbom; cinematographer: Yaron Orbach; editor: Emer Reynolds; music: Brian Byrne; cast: Orlando Bloom (Dr. Martin Blake), Riley Keough (Diane Nixon), Taraji P. Henson(Nurse Theresa), Rob Morrow (Dr. Waylans), J. K. Simmons (Detective Krauss), Troy Garity (Intern Dan Page), Michael Peña (Jimmy), Wade Williams (Mr. Nixon), Molly Price (Mrs. Nixon), Sorel Carradine (Valerie Nixon), Gary Cervantes (Mr. Sanchez), Nathan Keyes (Rich); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Jonathan King; Magnolia Pictures; 2011)
“A Dr. Kildare drama gone berserk on meds.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A Dr. Kildare drama gone berserk on meds. Lance Daly (“Kisses”/”The Halo Effect”/”Last Days in Dublin”)helms a weird story set in a busy metropolitan hospital that tells of an ambitious, arrogant, uptight young resident in internal medicine, Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom), who hopes to get ahead by impressing his superiors and tells his boss he became a doctor because it would get the upstart respect in society. It’s written byJohn Enbom, who keeps the thriller somewhat orderly with a medical malpractice story until it ups the ante to murder and then shows it doesn’t have a commitment to end it without leaving the psycho protagonist dangling without a resolution.
Dr. Martin Blake is a quiet Englishman, living in an all-white nondescript modern beach apartment, who does his residency at a Southern California hospital. When an officious nurse, Theresa (Taraji P. Henson), complains of his illegible handwriting over orders, Martin tells his boss, the chief of staff, Dr. Waylans (Rob Morrow), “that in spite of his degrees, she treats me like I’m just some nobody.” When the doctor is blamed for a mistake in his treatment of a non-English speaking Mexican patient (Gary Cervantes), he recovers his confidence when it’s proven to be another staff member’s mistake. The socially awkward doctor is smitten with a pretty 18-year-old high school student patient, Diane Nixon (Riley Keough), whom he is treating for a urinary-tract infection. The scared teen is grateful for his comforting help and idolizes him, but when she’s discharged and stands him up on a dinner date arranged by her parents–going out instead with her popular high school boyfriend (Nathan Keyes), the rejected lonely-heart doctor finds a tricky way to sabotage her medicines in her bathroom medicine cabinet and gets her back in the hospital under his care.
When the good doctor is threatened with exposure to his superiors for his unethical patient-doctor behavior by loud-mouth drug abuser orderly Jimmy (Michael Peña), Blake cracks and uses his doctor skills to get rid of the smarmy blackmailer in a dramatic way by inducing a cyanide poisoning attack in the hospital.
The thriller’s best parts are showing how the timorous egotistical Blake goes from a seemingly sane careerist-orientated doctor to a homicidal madman without any reservations aboutcarrying out his deranged urges.
Though flawed because the character-study story of an upward mobile loner with undetected psychological issues has little probing depth, nevertheless its chilling murder scenes are a gas and should leave the viewer with a creepy feeling for hospitals.
REVIEWED ON 12/12/2012 GRADE: B-