The putative most prolific serial killer in US history was taken down by kindness.
“The Good Nurse” tells the true story of a night nurse who brought a colleague, and friend, to justice after she discovered he had been killing patients. She goes up against the hospital bureaucracy’s negligence and her conflicted feelings towards someone she considers a trusted friend. This is not a serial killer movie glorifying the twisted mind of a murderer. It’s a movie about a working single mom stopping evil with goodness.
The Knockturnal spoke with the cast, writer and director of the film at the Oct 18 premiere in Manhattan.
Jessica Chastain plays the eponymous nurse, the real life Amy Loughren. Chastain said she learned a lot from Laughren, who often visited the set. “She was so great with me because she taught me a lot about her compassion and her empathy and humanity,” said Chastain. “One of the very first conversations I had with her is I asked her why she worked as a night nurse and she said she wanted her girls to think they had a stay at home mom.”
She continued, “She worked all night long taking care of others working at the hospital. She’d come home and do the grocery shopping and the housework while her kids were at school and then take care of them when they were out of school. She really was at no moment taking care of herself And i learned a lot about that from actually talking to her.”
Eddie Redmayne plays the serial killer Charles Cullen. He, too, was able to speak to Loughren, who had a close friendship with Cullen until she learned of his crimes. “[It was] extraordinary talking about the intimacy of her friendship and the specifics of that and the real love that she had,” said Redmayne. “Also this man had a seemingly amazing humanity. But there was this other side that she met twice and it was a different human being.”
He continued, “Violence was ended through compassion and reminding this man who was doing horrific things of his humanity.”
Danish director Tobias Lindholm helmed the film as his first English language feature. He’s directed several episodes of David Fincher’s serial killer Netflix show “Mindhunter.” He’s also the writing partner of Thomas Vinterberg and collaborated on the scripts for “The Hunt” and 2021’s Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film “Another Round.” Lindholm and Vinterberg are adherents to the Scandinavian film movement Dogme 95, a set of rules which extol naturalism and vérité.
“I’m proudly on the shoulders of Dogme, but Dogme is always proudly on the shoulders of [John] Cassevetes,” said Lindholm. “So it’s a circle. I think I’m bringing some [Ingmar] Bergman to the table and some [David] Fincher and some 70s great movie making.”
Lindholm joined the chorus of praising the real life good nurse. “Without her insistence on human values, friendship and love there would be no story to tell,” he said.
“The Good Nurse” is in theaters and available for streaming on Netflix.