The Good Doctor Reviews
I was reminded of Robin Williams in ONE HOUR PHOTO, although THE GOOD DOCTOR has a muted, hushed tone throughout. Bloom's character lacks that one showy scene that could have sent this story over-the-top into FATAL ATTRACTION territory, and it's all the better for it. A calm, cool and collected main character is far more interesting to watch than one who bellows and bleats all the time like some sort of mutant Al Pacino/Jack NIcholson villainous hybrid. Bloom and co-star Riley Keough set the tone here with their very hushed doctor/patient interactions. It's all quiet, understated subtext that rules the day here.
Unfortunately, as things progress, even though the filmmakers have taken great pains to ensure an internal logic, it's almost impossible not to throw up your hands at some point and say, "Really? REALLY?" Taraji P. Henson and Michael Peña get the best moments here as tow co-workers who seem to see right through Bloom's character. Molly Price and Troy Garity, however, appear to be victims of editing, as I don't understand at all the appeal here for the pair. Price is usually so witheringly good, and there definitely was room for a big showdown of a scene involving her and Bloom, but it never comes to pass. Garity just kind of traverses the sidelines of the story and never comes into focus. BEE-ZARRE!
What we're left with here is a carefully modulated cautionary tale about the dangers of hospitals. Without spoiling anything, the ending is intentionally abrupt, and feels deeply unsatisfying at first glance. After shaking my head and flapping my hands as I headed to the lobby, I thought about it some more and thought, hmmm, at least it's going for something interesting. Nobody gets shot in a bathroom as they charge at someone with a knife. Nobody boils any bunnies. The photography is rich and textured for something so obviously low-budget. It's also as serene and blank as it's main character, and I suppose, in a sense, that is accomplishment enough.
Performance wise Orlando Bloom does a really good job. Also some good supporting performances from Taraji P. Henson, Riley Keough, Rob Morrow, and J.K. Simmons.
Orlando Bloom manages to give his character the right performance. This is a movie that deals with a lot of conflicts that may occur in the doctor-patient relationship. And it handles them in a way that is just creepy enough.
Apart from the ending, which feels rushed, the movie has a good pacing and enough attention for characters and environment. The story develops gradually and lets you see more and more of the inner workings of the Good Doctor. Surprisingly, writer John Enbom has no other full-length movies to his name, only episodes of several TV-series (Party Down, Veronica Mars). He should write more!
Pros: Great lead role by Orlando Bloom
Cons: The ending felt a little rushed.
Verdict: Go see!
The Doctor, Martin Blake, becomes allured by one his patients, high school student Diane, who has a kidney infection. Although her infection is nothing to sneeze at, Dr. Blake assures her everything is under control and quickly sends her home nice and healthy. Still enamoured by her however, he devises a plan to return her to his care.
The plot is certainly intriguing, but it takes more than just plot to make a thriller work. Bloom has the responsibility to flesh out an interesting character who despite making bad decisions, can connect with the viewer. Unfortunately, he fails to bring much to the character.
It also doesn't help that the character has little development to begin with. He hints at a desire for lots of respect, which is interesting, but that Idea is never established. I think this story would work better in a TV series than a 90 minute movie. With a back-story developed, Dr. Blake's reasoning would be clearer, and it would make for a more compelling character. In this film, he just seems like a bonehead doing stupid thing after stupid thing.
Even despite a weak lead performance, early on it has it's share of thrilling moments. But eventually, with nowhere to go, it succumbs to the clichéd route, which kills any chance it had of being interesting.
The problems begin almost immediately with Orlando Bloom as Dr. Martin Blake; not necessarily because of his performance, but as result of the poorly written character he plays. Blake has little substance to his persona, and even less personality; a generic weirdo in scrubs who fails to be an interesting enough person to base an entire feature around. Despite essentially spending 90 straight minutes with him, we fail to sympathize, or even understand this figure by the conclusion. Also severely undeveloped is his obsession with Riley Keough as the high schooled subject of his infatuation. Though she certainly gives him the respect he so craves as an under appreciated doctor, why he so suddenly snaps, forcing her to remain under his treatment indefinitely, is never necessarily explained other than in general implications. Keough does a fine enough job with her role, but nothing in Enbom's script does anything to convince us of the powerful effect she has on Bloom. Daly also shares some of the blame for this as well, because it feels as though much of the material which would help connect the dots winded up on the cutting room floor.
Unsurprisingly, the most engaging parts of the film involve the ensemble of workers at the hospital. Michael Pina is excellent as Jimmy, a passive aggressive orderly who eventually discovers Blake's obsession, and uses it to blackmail him for Oxycotton. It's the final act where his character becomes a more crucial element of the broad story, and the film benefits a great deal from it. Also great is Taraji P. Henson, who while near wasted in a brief role as a questioning nurse, brings an emotional center from an outside perspective to Daly's warped love story. Though J.K Simmons only appears for a single scene as a police detective near the conclusion, it brings a tensity that everything before it lacked. While the main plot between Bloom and Keough was a bit of a mess, the background players seem already fleshed out and well developed before the film even begins.
Though there're some major problems at the core, The Good Doctor is somewhat saved by a tense, compelling final third. However, everything before that point was too dreary, dull, and occasionally random to recommend it. If you're a fan of Bloom, it may be nice to find a starring role where he's not welding a sword or bow, but other than that, you might want to skip this...can't think of a pun, sorry.