So this is Neil LaBute 'selling out', eh? The most misunderstood Hollywood movie since Last Action Hero, Nurse Betty is not only LaBute's most corrosive and bitter work to date, it is the finest slice of motion picture pie your humble reviewer has taken a bite from in the past decade. Fans of In The Company Of Men took one look at the big-name cast, the glossy production values, the oh-so-nineties hit-man characters and the Bridget Jones-bound star, and said 'no thanks'. Morons.
Nurse Betty hinges on a moment of violence, so very violent that it makes David Hess look amateur, so confrontationally violent that the film’s producer and director virtually have a stand-up fight during the recording of the DVD commentary over whether it should have been included or not. (Correct answer: it should). The Violent Moment drives our sweet heroine insane – but this is the movies, and movie-insane means you go off to see the wizard, in this case a soap-opera doc to whom the barking mad Betty now believes she is engaged. Like all of the best films of the 21st century-to-date (Sous Le Sable, Requiem For a Dream, Mulholland Drive) this is a story of female craziness induced by outside factors, and Renée Zellweger inhabits her mindfuck role to the point where you almost can't bring yourself to look anymore. She's oblivious, you're embarrassed, the rest of the cast are confused, and the whole shebang adds up to a hellish nightmare so rich with ideas and so powerful in execution that you find yourself disbelieving that this exists on celluloid in a year that starts with a '2'.
You'll laugh and cry at this movie, but mostly you'll panic.