The biggest irony of The Good Doctor is that the title character, Dr. Martin Blake, is not very good as a doctor or a person. In fact, Blake, a lonely British medical residency student, is the kind of poker-faced cold fish doctor you would wish upon your worst enemies.
“I never meant it to happen… it just got out of control,” he mutters as he plays a dangerous game of life and death with one of his unsuspecting patients. Orlando Bloom delivers one of his best performances outside of the Lord of the Rings, but due to a flawed script, which holds back on thrills and detailed explanations, The Good Doctor fails to take off.
Make no mistake, the best thing about the film is Orlando Bloom, who does well to hide his Elvish good looks behind a white lab coat and a bad boyish hairstyle. Unlike his previous roles, Bloom, finally out of period costume, fits well into the solitary, low-key character story explored here. He is sad, quiet, cold, smart and, best of all, he is menacing when the role requires him to be. Unfortunately, the film’s potential is lost between a quiet first act and its bizarre second and third act. Most of the failures, however, can be contributed to the unconvincing script – which gives no explanations for Blake’s behavior or his sudden jump into criminal activity.
Dr. Martin Blake appears to have everything you could want; a good job, a nice car, a fancy apartment, everything except respect. He struggles to fit in at the new hospital he is posted to, arguing with nurses and struggling to communicate with his patients. All this changes when he meets an 18-year-old patient, Diane Nixon (Riley Keough), whose family treats him with the utmost respect. During her treatment, Diane develops an unusual crush on Blake. Her father, grateful for all Blake is doing, invites him over for a thank-you supper. His strange behavior develops into something more questionable when he slips into the family’s medicine cupboard to exchange her medication for placebos. Soon Diane is back at the hospital and a manipulative Blake does everything to ensure she stays and keep his secret safe – sabotaging her treatment and lying to his superiors.
The Good Doctor, ultimately, never fulfills its potential as a melodrama, but does enough to keep audiences interested throughout. It just feels so incomplete.