Film Review: The Good Doctor

Suspense is anemic in this dark hospital drama about a resident getting too intensive in his care for an attractive patient.

Irish director Lance Daly lands stateside with The Good Doctor, set largely in an L.A. hospital and the protagonist’s steely-cold, stark beachside apartment. Indie fans will appreciate the cast, their performances and the medical authenticity of the writing and hospital milieu (portions of a former L.A. hospital were revived for the shoot). But symptoms like the film’s murky motives, lack of thrills, and confounding ending suggest only a fair box-office prognosis.

If not elegantly resolved, the story is smoothly arced. Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is a conscientious resident at the large hospital where he works alongside cynical boss Dr. Waylans (Rob Morrow), fellow resident Dan (Troy Garity, son of Jane Fonda), no-nonsense nurse Theresa (Taraji P. Henson) and wise-guy orderly Jimmy (Michael Peña), who gets his hands on a key piece of evidence.

The bad side of “good” Dr. Blake shows initial flashes after the arrival of young patient Diane (Riley Keough), with whom he has a subtle flirtation as he successfully treats her for the kidney ailment he had successfully diagnosed. His heroic role is short-lived.

When to his dismay he learns that the recovered Diane has returned home, Blake, moving to the dark side, goes into action. He befriends her modest working-class family, pays them a house call, and engages in some nasty mischief that will metastasize to toxic extremes. At the hospital, amidst all the liquid fluids, drips, tubes, IVs and whatnot, some of Blake’s once admiring co-workers, especially ornery orderly Jimmy, are on his case and soon follows Detective Krause (J.K. Simmons).

Too bad The Good Doctor provides no clue as to why this physician goes bad (whether genetic or experiential). At least to give this film some juice, Blake should have been a creepier incarnation than the Dr. Bland we encounter.