SYNOPSIS: Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is an ambitious but anxious young doctor. In his first days of residency he is eager to Impress his superious and colleagues – Chief Resident Waylans (Rob Morrow), the successful and self-assured fellow intern Dan (Troy Garity) and the no-nonsense nurse Theresa (Taraji P. Henson). But things are not going Martin’s way and he can’t seem to shake off his insecurities. When 18-year-old patient Diane (Riley Keough) is admitted for a kidney infection. Martin gets the much-needed boost of self-esteem he craves. He enjoys the fact that he’s in charge of her health and starts to develop feelings for her. However, his enthusiasm turns into an obsession, and when Diane’s condition starts improving. Martin fears losing her and begins tampering with her treatment so that she will have to stay at the hospital with him. When orderly Jimmy (Michael Pena) discovers the doctor’s budding relationship with his young patient and blackmails him for prescription painkillers, things get out of hand and martin is no longer just fighting for respect, but his reputation and career.
In between the blockbuster franchises, ‘The Good Doctor’ is Orlando Bloom’s way of telling both critics and audiences alike that he can be a serious dramatic actor. Almost the entire movie revolves around Bloom’s titular character, a Brit just beginning his medical residency in a hospital in Southern California, so it’s therefore not an overstatement to say that the movie practically rests on his shoulders.
The good news is that it actually works, with Bloom turning in one of his more sophisticated performances in an un-Hippocratic role. Indeed, we’re not just talking about the fact that our “good doctor” shows a disproportionate amount of care to a young and nubile female patient; on the contrary, this doctor even goes to the extent of changing her medicinal dosage just so her stay under his watch in the hospital could be prolonged.
At first an exploration of the ethical line to be drawn in the relationship between a doctor and a patient, writer John Enbom’s script morphs in the second half to an intimate study of our protagonist, Martin Blake’s, solitude and alienation. There is no mention of his friends and family; and outside of work, his time is spent either sleeping or warming up microwave dinners in a sparse apartment. No wonder then that he finds himself drawn to Diane (Riley Keough) – not helped by the fact that she exudes an alluring vulnerability that Martin cannot resist.
Director Lance Daly deftly builds a slow-burn tension in the first two-thirds of the movie, drawing his audience into the connection between Martin and Diane as well as into Martin’s routine and monotonous life. He leaves the unravelling for the gripping last third, when an impudent orderly (Michael Pena) chances upon evidence of Martin’s transgressions and blackmails him into getting pills for him to “party”. Suffice to say that it doesn’t end well for someone, and be warned that some viewers might be disturbed by the conclusion.
We’re not too sure if the movie’s reflection of the health care profession is indeed accurate – especially in terms of their psychological mindset or their attitude to climbing the corporate ladder – but it makes for a compelling watch, even if it is an uncomfortable one at times. And that credit goes to Bloom, who uses his boyish good looks to play against type as a none too upright doctor cycling between delusion, panic and diffidence.
Still, viewers expecting a fast-paced thriller like ‘Extreme Measures’ – we can’t quite recall a more recent mainstream medical thriller – will need to keep their hopes in check. This character-driven tale takes a while to crank itself up, but when it does, it is an absorbing story that will also convince you that Orlando Bloom is more than just a pretty face.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on this disc uses the back speakers surprisingly well to convey a sense of foreboding dread through the soundtrack. Visuals are clear and sharp.
DVD RATING :
Review by Gabriel Chong