THE GOOD DOCTOR (2011)
Running Time: 91 mins. Rating: x Stars/5 Stars
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Lance Daly
Cast: Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Taraji P. Henson, Rob Morrow, Michael Pena, Troy Garity, J.K. Simmons, Molly Price, Wade Williams, Sorel Carradine, Gary Carlos Cervantes
Here’s a message to all you young people who will resent paying premiums for health insurance because you “don’t need to.” You can get sick, deadly sick, requiring long periods of hospitalization. And if you get a doctor like the resident on duty in one California institution, you’re in even bigger trouble. So says Lance Daly, directing John Enbom’s script for THE GOOD DOCTOR, a Lolita-like fable that posits the view that a doctor can become so obsessed with a beautiful 18-year-old girl that he makes sure to keep her around—and not just so the hospital can collect more from insurance.
THE GOOD DOCTOR finds Orlando Bloom in almost every frame as British-raised Dr. Martin E. Blake, a handsome, shy and often tired resident whose good looks are enhanced by a suspicious clump of hair on his head. He practices internal medicine under the supervision of Dr. Waylans (Rob Morrow), who in one scary private interview with the ironically named physician asks him whether he’s happy, and also why he chose to be a doctor. The Bio-Chem major answers that he’s looking for respect: “And I want to help people,” the standard reply, which makes one wonder why he could not just as soon be a salesman at Macys.
The story revolves around the doc’s fascination with Diane (Riley Keough), admitted to his care for a kidney infection, who gets better in a short time and goes home. In a scene that boggles credibility, the doctor fixes things in such a way that she is re-admitted to the hospital in more serious shape than ever.
This modern Lolita-in-a-hospital-bed story is within director Lance Daly’s métier. His KISSES dealt with two lads who run away from home at Christmas only to spend a night of terror in inner-city Dublin. A similar ambiance of suspense takes hold of the viewer at the SoCal institution where somehow Dr. Blake’s behavior raises suspicion from Nurse Theresa (Taraji P. Henson), Jimmy the orderly (Michael Peña), Dr. Waylans, roommate Dan (Troy Garity), the girl’s father (Wade Williams) and a detective (J.K. Simmons). You’ll wonder how he can get away with his ruthless treatment of both the patient and another member of the hospital, the latter more knowledgeable about goings-on than you’d expect him to be.
Michael Peña stands out as the story’s comic relief, a good-natured orderly with larceny in his heart who has sex with a patient and who converses with the doc as though they were equals. By contrast, Orlando Bloom, handsome devil that he is, has a vivid imagination and seems surprisingly passive considering his sometimes frantic activity to commit and cover up his crimes. “We always hurt the ones we love” appears to be Dr. Blake’s method of operation rather than the more desirable “Primum non nocere.”
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