The Good Doctor is an interesting thriller, but unfortunately it never seems to make the most of its potential.
The Good Doctor is the story of Dr Martin Blake, a new doctor who has recently joined a LA hospital. Not long after he starts working there, a young woman by the name of Diane comes in. He diagnoses her, begins her treatment and watches her health improve as the medication starts to work. While she’s recovering, she and Martin start to grow closer. It’s not too long though before she’s discharged, and sent home. Dr. Blake is invited home by her family, and sensing an opportunity, he decides to accept the invitation. He plans to keep Diana close to him, and the only way he can do that is by making her sick again.
The Good Doctor will appeal to audiences that like their thrillers to be more intellectually stimulating than action driven.
The Bottom Line
Orlando Bloom is just like Hugo Weaving in that Hugo Weaving will forever be known as Agent Smith and Orlando Bloom will forever be known as Legolas. It seems that Bloom is a better actor than Weaving however, as his performance in The Good Doctor made me forget that he was once a long haired elf that skated down stairs while killing orcs with his bow. In fact, his performance as the somewhat sociopathic doctor is pretty damn good. The performances of the supporting cast, even some of the minor characters such as the nurses, are also surprisingly convincing.
I must comment on the lighting and cinematography, which was particularly good. Subtle changes in camera angles and lighting all help build tension in this movie.
And the tension. The Good Doctor is quite a nerve wracking film, which is exactly what you want from a thriller. There are scenes where one waits for it all to come crashing down on the doctor’s head but he seems to navigate his way out, at least for now.
Unfortunately The Good Doctor does seem to lose something towards the final act of the movie. The tension never seems to release, but instead just slowly peters out. The problem with the tension is also that we never get that “whew that was close moment” the way we do in a movie like Argo. We get that from Argo because the movie has characters we obviously empathise with. The thing is that we aren’t rooting for Dr Blake. The man clearly has a dark side and we get to see this very clearly. But then how are we supposed to feel when he escapes from danger? Yes, there are some shadier characters around him, but considering he’s the main character and he’s doing all these bad things, there needs to be something that allows us to empathise with him a bit more. I feel that creating mixed feelings in the audience would have given this movie this extra spark that it needed to be great, instead all we know is hints of some of the things he went through just before the movie started, and we never fully learn about what he’s been through.
The Good Doctor could have been great. There’s good performances all around, and some very interesting characters. There’s even some really tense scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, it does have a few problems that ultimately make it hard for me to recommend that anyone watch it. Perhaps if you’ve worked in the medical field, or are an absolute medical genre junkie, this will be high on your list of movies to watch, but unfortunately for me, by the time the credits started rolling I was feeling decidedly underwhelmed.
About Rowan Govender
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.