The Good Doctor ✮✮1/2
by Glenn Lovell
Let’s be frank. Some physicians choose their line of work out of some high-flown desire to serve, but the majority are in it for the do-re-mi and the rush that comes with being addressed as “doctor so-and-so.” In the facetiously titled “The Good Doctor,” now available on PPV, there’s no question what motivates Los Angeles internist Martin Blake. When asked why he wanted to become a doctor, he mumbles something about doing good but winds up talking about a doctor he knew as a child who commanded the respect of the neighborhood.
Yes, it’s all about image and prestige for the boyishly handsome Dr. Blake, played by Orlando Bloom. Which explains why when making the rounds he always seems distracted, in his own world. Needless to say, this leaves him prone to mistakes, as well as always second guessing himself.
This draws the attention of the head nurse (Taraji P. Henson), whose glare says “I dare you to screw up on my watch.” It also draws the attention of a lascivious orderly (Michael Peña), who pegs Blake as a kindred rule-breaker who might even turn a blind eye to supply-room hanky-panky. The sardonic chief resident (Rob Morrow) also has his doubts about the new intern but, for now, he hides them behind a bemused grin.
Only Diane (Riley Keough), a new patient, seems at all empathetic. The 18-year-old is suffering from a dicey kidney infection and a recently broken heart. Blake, who lives alone in an antiseptic Santa Monica duplex, is instantly smitten. But he’s about to lose his pretty young patient, who’s responding remarkably well to antibiotics.
“The Good Doctor,” as if you haven’t guessed, is a tale of quiet obsession. It’s about the lengths to which a self-obsessed doctor will go to keep the object of his desire in the hospital ‒ in his personal care. I know, a quick description makes it sounds like a stock Lifetime melodrama. That it’s quite a bit more is testament to Lance Daly’s muted direction, Bloom’s affably malevolent performance, and John Enbom’s all-too-credible script, wherein personal agendas blind health practitioners to obvious prognoses. This is one of those queasy little thrillers ‒ like “One-Hour Photo” and “The Assassination of Richard Nixon” ‒ that’ll have you talking back to the screen, shouting, “No, he wouldn’t possibly do THAT!” And then he does.
THE GOOD DOCTOR ✮✮1/2 With Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Rob Morrow, Michael Peña. Directed by Lance Daly; scripted by John Enbom. 93 min. Rated PG-13 (for profanity, sexual situations)