In spite of how rudderless The Good Doctor may initially seem, there’s a strategy and queasy logic guiding director Lance Daly’s half-baked scenario. His character study of a manic young doctor who becomes obsessed with a teenage patient makes a point of not judging its subject, though that doesn’t mean that his antihero isn’t easy to judge. Dr. Martin Blake (Orlando Bloom) is an abominable character that viewers can only intermittently relate to, not because he’s sympathetic, but because he’s just pathetic. Young, good-looking, and desperate to please his boss, Dr. Waylon (Rob Morrow), Martin typically acts like a shy, caring young man. He’s also in over his head soon after he starts practicing, and because he’s such a perfectly innocuous milquetoast, you want to like him more than you probably should. Until he starts using his knowledge of internal medicine to poison people. But don’t let that fool you: In his head, he thinks he’s right, which, according to Daly, makes him an inherently interesting character. Daly confuses that internal conflict with emotional complexity, allowing viewers to check out instead of actively engaging with Blake’s unstable behavior. In spite of Daly and screenwriter John Enbom’s earnest attempts at maintaining a numbering distance between Blake’s thoughts and his actions, there’s nothing but pseudo-complexity supporting The Good Doctor’s psychodrama. He’s acting on impulse and hence isn’t motivated by anything more complex than greed and blind panic. In that sense, Daly found a perfect actor for Blake in Bloom, a fledgling actor who thinks of himself as a leading man, but just doesn’t have the range to support that ambition. The Good Doctor isn’t a ponderous bore because Blake isn’t a strictly good or bad character; it’s terrible because he isn’t even a compelling character.
- Magnolia Pictures
- 90 min
- Lance Daly
- John Enbom
- Orlando Bloom, Riley Keough, Michael Peña, Rob Morrow, J.K. Simmons
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