Monday, September 3, 2012

The Good Doctor (C+)

A routine medical thriller with a superb closing act, Lance Daly's The Good Doctor stars the typically typecast swashbuckler Orlando Bloom as a pious and insecure doctor in his first year of residency, whose low self esteem inevitably causes him to develop an obsession with an appreciative teenaged female patient. It's a premise that could possibly work better under the format of an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, where compelling suspenseful ideas could be told in full in a limited period without needing to pad the runtime, but with the excellent supporting cast of Taraji P. Henson, Michael Pena, Riley Keough, and a surprisingly uncredited J.K Simmons, coupled with a tense screenplay from Party Down scribe John Enbom, I was relatively optimistic that the setup could work just as well as a feature film. Though my optimism was justified with the supporting cast, I was met with sincere disappointment in most other aspects of the film. Due to pedestrian direction, a generally dull script, and a mediocre lead, up until the final 20 minutes I frequently found myself bored and disengaged with the story.

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.

Grade: C+


  1. Good review David. This has some nice tension to it and features a pretty good performance from Bloom, but not much else. It could have been a lot creepier but for some reason, they never seem to go fully down that road.

    1. Thanks! Bloom did an alright job with the character he was given, but I was really surprised just how good Michael Pina was as the pill popping orderly. The more I think about it, the premise would've really worked better as a short.

  2. Great review David! I thought Michael Pena was excellent as well. Not only was he funny, as always, but spiteful! It was nice to see him in this light. The scene with the sedated patient, Mandy was one of my favorites, not only funny but creepy! Another great review David!

  3. Үοur aгtiсle pгοvideѕ verifiеd useful to us.
    It’s гeally infοrmative anԁ
    you reаlly aге certainlу extгemеly еxperienсed
    in thіs regіon. Υou ρossess оpened
    up my οωn sight in orԁer to numеrous views on thiѕ ѕpecific tορіc tοgether with intriguing, notable and stгong content

    Ηere iѕ mу website - ativan
    Here is my web blog :: clonazepam