Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is deeply disturbed, only he doesn't know it yet. Dr. Blake has just started working at a new hospital fresh out of med school. By the looks of it he's a fairly normal fellow with awkward bedside manner. He's lonely though, which is the one overwhelming thing in his redundant life. It's his loneliness that ends up getting him in trouble.
Diane (Riley Keough) is Dr. Blake's new patient. She's an attractive young girl who seems to have a common bladder infection. Diane and Dr. Blake hit it off. She's the only one he can talk to because he has no one else in his life. When her parents invite him over for dinner he happily accepts because he's got nothing better to do. In his personal life Dr. Blake is idle, and as we soon learn that old adage, "Idle hands are the devil's plaything," certainly rings true here.
It's hard to dissect the movie's plot for you without giving anything away. So I'll steer well away from any big spoilers.
Dr. Blake is so enamored with Diane that he makes a few unethical decisions that ultimately lead to downright evil ones. 'The Good Doctor' starts out as a light-hearted medical drama about two people connecting with each other and ends up in a completely different place. It's a story of a man who is so infatuated with someone, and so desperate because of his own loneliness, that he's willing to risk absolutely everything to get what he wants; or what he thinks he needs.
There's an unnerving feeling as we watch this straight-laced doctor fall farther and farther down the rabbit hole. Once he's made his first unscrupulous decision it seems like there's no stopping him. His relationship with Diane is far from healthy, but he doesn't care because it makes him feel good.
Director Lance Daly does a stupendous job piecing together the elements of the film, creating much-needed tension and, at times, crushing anxiety. There are scenes as Dr. Blake is trying to hide what he's doing from the rest of his co-workers that are every bit as intense as the latest big budget Hollywood thriller.
The ending does feel a little disjointed and lacks any sort of catharsis. I know that's its point, but it felt like the story bailed on the consequences of Dr. Blake's outrageously bad choices. That doesn't stop the movie from being a capable thriller though. The subtle creepiness of Dr. Blake's moral fiber slowly slipping is still astounding to observe. This is some of the finest acting Bloom has ever done. He's hardly recognizable under his bushy hair and quiet demeanor.
It's tough to watch a guy who seemingly has his entire life and career ahead of him, throw it all away because of a misguided infatuation. Here's a nice guy who has been overtaken by obsession. It's an interesting character study to say the least.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Magnolia Home Video release. It comes in a standard keepcase on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. It's coded for Region A use.
Shot on 16mm, 'The Good Doctor' is much grainier than your standard film on Blu-ray. The 1080p transfer is softer and lacks the precision that most other movies have when filmed in 35mm or digitally. It was a conscious decision by the director though, so it's supposed to look gauzy and gritty.
Detail isn't as sharp as some may like it. The heavy grain creates a hazy effect. Light bleeds through edges instead of edges being precise. Facial details, like everything else, are soft and unassuming. You can see facial hair and other features, they just aren't nearly as pronounced.
The real softness can be seen in mid- and long-range shots. Faces become indistinct blobs. You can see dark spots where the eyes are and where the mouth goes, but there's very little in the way of distinguishing characteristics when the camera pulls back. Color feels muted also. Part of this is due to the grittier feel of the movie and also because it's set inside a sterile, predominantly white hospital environment.
This may seem like a long list of complaints, but it really isn't. This is just the case with a 16mm sourced film. This was the way the movie was supposed to look. Thankfully, the movie is free from any sort of artifacting that would detract from one's viewing.
Magnolia has provided a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for 'The Good Doctor.' Being a dialogue-centric film there isn't much in the way of sonically charged scenes. Instead the audio deals in the whispered conversations of the movie's characters.
Dialogue is presented cleanly. Much of the movie's dialogue is spoken in hushed tones, which are never unintelligible. The movie's unsettling score composed by Brian Byrne fills up the soundfield and seeps into the rear channels. The ambient sound is very light though. You'd think there would be a lot more activity in the rear speakers since the movie takes place, mainly, in a busy hospital. Yet, the rear channels are fairly quiet. They do get some action though, like the echoing sounds of crashing waves on the beach and some very light ambient noise from hospital employees milling about in the cafeteria.
When done correctly the story about someone slowly spinning out of control can be a consuming one. Watching Dr. Blake lose himself and the person he was, in order to fulfill his most selfish needs is uncomfortable yet fascinating. This is a largely unknown little indie film that is definitely worth a look if you get a chance.