Some may remember the nurses nicknamed the “Lainz Angels of Death” who murdered dozens of patients in the 1980s. Basically, Charles Cullen is such a fatal case. He played Eddie Redmayne in the new Netflix drama The Good Nurse. Opposite him, Jessica Chastain plays the role of “The Good Nurse” in the title of the film. Everything is a little sterile.
Netflix is fascinated by true crime. While the popularity of the subgenre has exploded in recent years given the collective, sometimes morally questionable true crime fetish, true crime series and documentaries are incredibly prevalent on American broadcast tape these days. The story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is currently one of the most popular series. Now Charles Cullen joins them.
As a nurse, the American killed at least 29 people in the 1990s and 2000s, but the number of unreported cases approaches 400, according to the film’s sources. It wasn’t about him at first, but about Amy Lugren (Jessica Chastain), who works in the intensive care unit of a hospital in New Jersey. She’s a single mother and caring nurse who struggles to hide her heart condition to get health insurance that would allow her to have a heart transplant. And although the doctor warned her that if she tried too hard, she might die, she had no other choice.
To relieve them, the gentle nurse is hired Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), and at first he becomes a lifeguard. He helps Amy, cooks for her, and even takes care of her two daughters while secretly sending patients to sleep forever. All goes well until so many people die unexpectedly that the police start investigating, and Amy wonders who she’s really friends with.
At the helm of the star-studded drama is Danish director Tobias Lindholm, perhaps best known as the co-writer of Thomas Venterberg’s ‘The Hunt’ (2012) and ‘The Intoxication’ (2020), with this adaptation by Charles Greypers. Fictional literature first appears in English. Unlike some of Netflix’s more controversial productions like “Dahmer: Monster,” “The Good Nurse” isn’t very exciting. Lindholm also shoots everything very sterile. This is impressive in that the drama impressively avoids re-enactments. But what we get is almost too booked. The respect for this true story seemed so overwhelming that the creators forgot to give their movie a pulse.
Because of this no-nonsense approach, the two Academy Award winners don’t have much room to play. Like Amy, Jessica Chastain (“Tami Fay’s Eyes”) is honest and thoughtful. She brings the necessary humanity to the film, but the actress had more exciting roles.
Eddie Redmayne (“Discovering Infinity”) is the most interesting character. He plays Coleen as a calm and introverted person, which makes him both reassuring and worrisome. Little is said about Charles Cullen in this movie, what drives him and why he does the things he does. This is great on the one hand, but also very frustrating.
Essentially, “The Good Nurse” is a critique of the American health care system, and it works just like that. One of the reasons Colin has enjoyed impunity for so long is that the various hospitals he has worked at have not reported him to avoid legal repercussions and financial losses – thus protecting a serial killer.