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The Good Doctor

2011 | 93 min | PG-13 | 1.85:1

The Good Doctor


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Theatrical release date

 31 August, 2012

Country of origin

 United States

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The Good Doctor


Screenshots from The Good Doctor Blu-ray

The Good Doctor Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, July 26, 2012

“The Good Doctor” is a classic example of a slow burn picture. Considering the vague creepiness of the titular character, the glacial pace could cause some viewers to lose interest in the delusions and devious plans of the plot. The movie takes a certain amount of patience to watch, and those approaching “The Good Doctor” with an open mind might find themselves pulled into the developing disease. A satisfactory shot at a psychological study with a light suspense coating, the feature maintains a convincing feel for surprises and bad ideas, guided by one of the better performances I’ve seen from notoriously wooden star Orlando Bloom.

Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is just beginning his medical career, hoping to move from internal medicine to a more professional responsibility, looking to impress his superior, Dr. Waylans (Rob Morrow). Tending to patient Diane (Riley Keough) and her kidney infection, Martin finds himself smitten with the teenage girl, showing signs of jealousy when her dim-witted boyfriend is around to steal her attention. After a successful treatment, Diane’s family initiates a relationship with Martin, offering the love struck doctor an opportunity to sabotage her home medication, returning the patient to the hospital where he can obsess over her day and night, while staff members (including Taraji P. Henson) take his interest as practiced dedication. Prolonging Diane’s treatment, Martin risks his career to keep his fixation close, a toxic arrangement threatened when Jimmy (Michael Pena), a reckless orderly, reveals his knowledge of the situation to the increasingly agitated doctor.

The screenplay for “The Good Doctor” (credited to John Enbom) is a measured exercise in detailing the chapters of a mental breakdown, observing Martin quietly succumb to his urges, despite years of training and common sense blocking his view of Diane. The premise hints at an “American Psycho” take on a psychological rupture, yet the writing remains composed, keeping the lead character’s actions low to the ground, increasing the possibility of recognition along the way, where Martin suddenly snaps out of his fog and comprehends the severity of his deeds. The invitation for hysterics is there, yet never accepted, electing to itemize Martin’s illegal activities peacefully, emphasizing their evil in an unexpected manner.

Bloom’s work here as Martin keeps up the established pace, with the majority of his performance internalized, building a character who’s lost in solitude, projecting shyness at work while living in an empty beach house in desperate need of warmth. While Keough’s snoozy performance makes Martin’s brain-melting dedication to Diane a bit of a mystery, the possessiveness is alive in Bloom’s body language, encouraging a snowballing build of suspense to the picture as Martin finds himself in too deep. Again, there’s nothing overtly sinister about the film and Bloom’s work, as director Lance Daly shoos away the innate horror of the situation. Instead, “The Good Doctor” is played like a love story with a poisoned heart, keeping viewers unnerved instead of shocked, compelled to study Bloom’s impressively restricted work.

Perhaps the only genuinely strange element of “The Good Doctor” is Rob Morrow, who actively searches for ways to entertain himself during his supporting turn. With a squeaky, swallowed voice and funky eyewear he can’t keep his hands off of, Morrow is off on his own adventure during the course of the film. I only wish the oddity contributed more to the story.

As expected, Martin’s troubles begin to add up in a significant manner, only there’s no substantial climax to the feature, which bows out passively with a terrible fake-out ending to act as a concluding jolt. The set-up to “The Good Doctor” hints at a more momentous resolution, and when it doesn’t arrive, the moviegoing effort seems all for naught. It’s a film stronger in the moment than in the rear-view mirror, generating some interesting tension along the way, most of it content to creep into view. “The Good Doctor” also mines the criminal invasion of medical professionals for a decent amount of unease, creating a plausible monster out of a person who’s devoted their entire adulthood to saving lives.

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Rob Morrow, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Peña, Troy Garity
Director: Lance Daly

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