It’s 8:29 pm
We’re watching everyone run everywhere doing Black Friday stuff. We’re seeing tons of videos from fellow collectors who are out spending tons of cash getting the latest Hollywood releases. As for the cheetah and myself,we stayed outta of that fray. We were going to watch “Insidious” for like the 4th time,we had it all set and ready but I had to swap out a movie we got at the Family Video sale that was badly scratched. So in doing so,the clerk was kind enough to mention a few new titles that had been put on the sales floor. And that is how I found “The Shift” and once again,I am so glad for these kick ass Family Video sales,to discover a a powerful film that no one has really heard about but for a mere dollar,you can! I admit,I was a wee bit wary of buying this because while it features Danny Glover as among the cast,that doesn’t always equal to a good movie. His name and face is used to sell the film but as with many former A-list stars,what you end up buying is a new coaster for your Dr. Pepper.
Lucky for everyone,”The Shift” is not one of those types of movies.
The film opens with two brothers,the older Kayle (Leo Oliva) playing with his little brother Jake. Their bond is very tight as Jake looks up to Kayle. But Kayle is a R.N. and he is starting a new job two hours away from home. Kayle reassures his mother that he will visit often. The two brothers then arrange to give Jake his first first swim lesson.
The present day and we see Kayle getting ready for work,he eats a quick and off he goes. We are in the ER section of a unnamed hospital and the shift change is coming up.
A nurse named Danny is treating a young patient who has fever that is spiking,he gets permission to treat me with some meds. Danny is a very compassionate nurse and we see that his co-workers are a tight knit unit.
Kayle is seen at his locker,he seems extremely wound up,he had taken some sort of drug before coming to work.
Floyd (Danny Glover) is the Head Nurse on Kayle’s shift. He assigns him a new trainee,Amanda (Casey Fitzgerald) to work with him. As Kayle starts to argue,a code goes off and Kayle responds with others to save a man,its touch and go but the team brings him back just as the doctor comes in. The doctor is not happy as he demands if anyone had read the patient’s chart….which no one had. The doctor explains that the patient had a DNR request in place and know the hospital will have to explain why they didn’t honor that. The rest of the team leaves and Kayle turns back. He walks into in the patient’s room and we see that he is a angel of mercy.
He comes back to Floyd and says he can’t train Amanda,she won’t be able to keep up.
But when Floyd says Kayle either trains Amanda or he can go home for good,we know Kayle,while brilliant and very good at his job,has had some issues in the past. Floyd believes in him but can only do so much to cover Kayle.
Kayle then takes Amanda with him but is rather brisk and strictly business like. He assigns her many patients,including the young patient,Mr. Ortega,that Danny was treating earlier. The two work patients,often butting heads but helping patients.
Amanda,who believes in saving a life at all costs,starts to notice Kayle is not under quite the control he is trying to show. Kayle believes in doing the thing as he knows you can’t save everyone. Kayle and Amanda’s belief systems are both displayed as they treat a elderly patient in the end stages of dementia,her body is breaking down and she coded 4 times that night and been brought back 4 times on the request of the family. Kayle and Amanda are brought in and as they are talking about the patient,Amanda is horrified to see Kayle has allowed her to code and when the doctor comes in,she explains what Kayle has done. Kayle also explains his side…the patient was once a nurse when the doctor started and he isn’t going to bring her back either,he pronounces dead and Amanda is shocked.
It’s when a young advanced cancer patient is brought in that a true clash of wills,morals and ethics will bring Kayle and Amanda to a place they never thought they would be in…Kayle at a breaking point both mentally and professionally and Amanda being forced to look her own code and wondering if being so by the book is always doing the right thing for the patient.
Wow. Yeah,I sure as hell wasn’t expecting such a interesting and deep movie like this from “The Shift”. While I can’t and won’t say we “enjoyed” this due to the theme of the movie,I do respect the bravery of showing what nurses face every day. Written and starring Leo Oliva,who also happened to have graduated from the University of Miami as an Registered Nurse before going into acting. This explains why the scenes in the ER come across as real,while treating patients in a ER can be busy,its not Hollywood fast,the dialogue rings completely true as well.
To address “Angels of Mercy” is daring because of the completely shaky ground they walk,while many see them as true angels in helping suffering patients,others see it as a act of murder and no better then a common killer. In Kayle’s case,I think Oliva has shown that nurses have a breaking point and that is absolutely important that nurses have access to professional therapists at the hospital’s cost to help them when they reaching the breaking point.
You can’t work a cancer ward or in hospice and expect not to be affected emotionally by the loss of so many of your patients. I know that in my case,personally,all three of Lori’s angels,they all cried at her passing. To see someone you know and are caring for suffer and be helpless,the urge to take matter into one’s hand happens a lot more then people would ever acknowledge.
The acting in “The Shift”is very good,director Lee Cipolla gets great performances out of everyone in his cast,including a solid one from Danny Glover. His Floyd is a very interesting character in of himself,his second guessing of some of choices are clearly seen at the end of the movie. Casey Fitzgerald was also very strong as Amanda and her look of having her ordered world completely changed in a mere 12 hours is brought home very nicely.
Leo Oliva’s turn as Kayle is going to haunt you,is he angel or killer? The one thing you take from Kayle is you just wish like hell he would have reached out for help a lot sooner and you mourn for the loss of a good man.
“The Shift” is a movie that you have you talking afterwards. It’s not a easy watch in places but it also a movie you NEED to watch.
“The Shift” is unrated but I would rate it PG-13 and it has a run time of 1 hour and 38 minutes.
It has no extra features and you can buy at Amazon.com
The cheetah and I give “The Shift” two thumbs/two paws up.
What do you feel “Angels of Mercy” are? Leave a comment below.