Skip to main content

What could have been a mediocre, made-for-streaming thriller is transformed in the hands of Danish director Tobias Lindholm’s suspenseful directing and two Oscar-winning actors’ powerful performances. Elevating this Netflix movie even further is the fact that the story of a seemingly stable, actual-psychopath, murderous nurse and his best friend who turns him in is all too true.  

Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain, in an astonishing performance) is a good nurse. As a single mother barely making ends meet and constantly battling a heart condition that could end in a stroke or death, nurse Amy is still unfailingly professional and compassionate to her patients. She can’t even get health insurance to treat her condition (she needs a heart transplant) until one year of employment has passed, putting her in the worst position possible. 

Enter Charlie Cullen, an experienced nurse (a little too experienced, as it turns out) who immediately clicks with Amy and lightens her load both at work and with her two little girls. Eddie Redmayne turns in an equally mesmerizing performance to his co-star. His Charlie is kind, skilled, and a helpful and loyal friend. His desire to help Amy is real, which makes the fact that he is a cold-blooded killer even more unsettling. Redmayne conveys Charlie’s full humanity in a way only one of our best actors could do. 

The fact that Amy and Charlie are real and close friends makes this movie something deeper than your basic procedural murder mystery. Amy cares about Charlie, and you get the feeling she ends up turning him in for his good as much as anyone else’s. This might remind Christian viewers of Jesus’ words in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” 

Because when patients start dying mysteriously on her and Charlie’s watch, and two detectives ask Amy to trap Charlie into a confession, Amy risks her own life to help Charlie stop killing people.

Amy is no actress, but when she must pretend she’s cool with Charlie being around her daughters, for example, Chastain’s portrayal is a marvel to watch. Competing emotions flit across her eyes—she is horrified and scared out of her wits, but she must act as if she’s perfectly comfortable having a serial killer in her kitchen. 

In the end, Charlie is locked up for his crimes (he confesses to 29 deaths but experts say that count might be as high as 400), but justice is not carried out. The nine hospitals he worked at (administrators suspected him of killing patients but, out of fear of being sued, quietly passed the buck to other hospitals without so much as a bad reference) are complicit in these deaths, yet nothing happens to them. 

This movie is more than a thriller, it’s a commentary on the American medical system and its systemic injustices. The viewer is left with the disturbing feeling that some bad guys got away with murder and will continue to do so. (Rated TV-MA for language (a few F-words), and one scene of an elderly woman’s naked corpse. Netflix)


We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now