THE GOOD DOCTOR – Review by Susan Granger

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Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) turns the essence of the Hippocratic Oath – “First, do no harm…” – into hypocrisy in Lance Daly’s creepy psychological thriller.

Newly arrived in Southern California from England to begin his first year of internal medicine residency, ambitious Dr. Martin Blake is annoyed when he can barely comprehend a Hispanic patient’s medical complaint which results in his making a mistake with the man’s medication. So in order to impress Chief Resident Waylans (Rob Morrow), his colleague Dan (Troy Garity) and the vigilant, no-nonsense floor nurse Theresa (Taraji P. Henson), he concentrates on flirtatious Diane Nixon (Riley Keough), a pretty, blue-eyed, blond 18 year-old with a kidney infection. Guilelessly, she confides in him about troubles with her boy-friend. When Diane’s grateful family invites shy, lonely Dr. Blake to their home for dinner, he deliberately tampers with the medication in her medicine cabinet, so that she will have a relapse and return to the hospital, where her condition gradually worsens. When Blake discovers Jimmy (Michael Pena), an insolent, larcenous orderly, having sex in the supply room, Jimmy counters with evidence of Blake’s malfeasance and blackmails him with persistent demands for the prescription painkiller Oxycodone. So Blake poisons him, making the homicide look like an ‘accident.’ Nevertheless, that arouses the suspicion of a local detective (J.K. Simmons) who visits Blake at his sterile, sparsely furnished beachside apartment but facile, poker-faced Dr. Blake resolutely maintains his innocence.

Ambiguously scripted as a black comedy by John Enborn (“Veronica Mars”) and directed with cautious irony by Lance Daly (“Kisses”), it’s obviously about the ruthless, amoral obsession of a sociopath. But, as portrayed by Orlando Bloom, reticent, ever-courteous Dr. Blake is so inexplicably cold and elusive that it’s difficult to sustain interest in him an evil protagonist. Conversely, it’s interesting to look for traces of Elvis in the face of Diane Keough, daughter of singer Lisa Marie Presley.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Good Doctor” is a suspenseful, sinister 6, making one wary of checking into a hospital.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.