Review: Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness

Bryden Smith, Counter Culture Reporter

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Gore Verbinski has spent the last twenty years making a name for himself in Hollywood, directing mega-hits like the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies and successful horrors like The Ring (2002). Verbinski’s latest was one of the most promising mainstream psychological thrillers since Shutter Island (2010), but despite the expertly chosen cast and beautify chilling cinematography, A Cure for Wellness falls short, ultimately leaving viewers underwhelmed.

The film follows Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), a cold and calculating business executive, as he is blackmailed into retrieving his estranged CEO from a wellness-center-sanitarium deep in the Swiss Alps. Driven by a ferocious ambition and impatience, he is determined to make it a quick trip. But after his car crashes, Lockhart awakens a patient himself in a full leg cast. Being cared for by the center’s director Volmer (Jason Isaacs), Lockhart crutches around the eerie establishment, searching the tiled hallways and healing pools for his CEO. On the way he meets with the white-robed patients and doctors, drinks plenty of the “healing water,” and begins to piece together the cruel history of the sanitarium. Each dark secret he discovers endangers him more, and soon Lockhart dwindles on the edge of insanity.

The way Verbinski sets the scene is masterful. His ability to entrance his viewers is what made the film so enticing, with gorgeous shots of the alps, sinister architecture, and powerful close-ups. Everything from the soundtrack to the color-pallet hypnotizes movie-goers into yearning for answers. Each aspect of the setting is crystal clear yet clouded with mystery, and until the plot actually starts to unfold, A Cure for Wellness is frightening in every way a thriller should be.

via Box Office Buzz

The cast is perfect—the doctors are politely evil, the patients are believably brainwashed, and each character plays their role to a tee. Mia Goth plays Hannah, the stereotypical crazy girl, but executes it with poise, and Jason Isaacs’s whatever-the-cost coldness makes his role as Volmer truly frightening. Not to forget Lockhart–Dane DeHaan is certainly one to watch. A Cure for Wellness gave him a chance to showcase his talent as an actor without compromising the film’s ominous aesthetic.

Unfortunately, this movie is littered with never-ending backstory leading to a ‘plot-twist’ that every viewer who wasn’t on their phone could guess. And that’s not accounting for the last half hour, where the film doesn’t just disappoint, it completely falls apart. The eerie becomes the incestuous; the mysterious becomes the monotonous, and Lockhart’s ability to flick sanity on and off like a light switch is frustrating. The actors did the best they could with what they were given, but by the end viewers are laughing at the disaster that is the story.

If you’re a viewer in the market for something semi-original and visually enchanting, A Cure for Wellness is a must. However, if you want a story that’ll resonate, look elsewhere.

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