Title – A Cure for Wellness (2016)
Director – Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)
Cast – Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Harry Groener
Plot – At the behest of his company, rising business executive Lockhart (DeHaan) is sent to the Swiss Alps to retrieve the companies CEO Roland Pembroke (Groener) who has admitted himself to a mysterious wellness centre run by Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Isaacs).
“I’m not a patient!”
Review by Eddie on 28/06/2017
No stranger to the thriller/mystery genre (this film is not, as some expected, a horror), The Ring director Gore Verbinski looks to ride away from his Lone Ranger debacle with the visually stunning, sometimes brilliant, longwinded and in the end sadly disappointing A Cure for Wellness.
A film experience that tries to be many things at once to the detriment of the overall product, Wellness sees Verbinski head to the stunning surrounds of Switzerland as we follow Dane DeHaan’s rising business executive Lockhart as he heads to a mysterious wellness centre to retrieve a company board member who’s seemingly jumped off the deep end after heading to the facility for treatment.
It sounds relatively straightforward in theory but Verbinski’s film is anything but.
Filled with foreboding gothic like intrigue behind the facilities colourful history, eels in abundance, a water source that could just harbor the elixir of life, dehydrated patients and many contemplations on the state of modern day life, Wellness over its 140 minute runtime traverses many various different paths and possibilities but we often feel as lost as DeHaan’s unwillingly hosted Lockhart as we journey along the halls and grounds of Dr. Heinreich Volmer’s far from the usual retreat centre.
It’s unfortunate this is the case, as when Wellness clicks into gear it’s an often hauntingly stunning experience that is surely one of 2017’s and recent memories most visually spectacular events, that once more showcases Verbinski’s talent when it comes to capturing imagery and set pieces.
Verbinski also elicits fine performances from his leading man DeHaan and Jason Isaacs as the slimy head of the facility Volmer, while Mia Goth makes her mark in the film as troubled teenager Hannah but the good work of the cast and the visual wins of the film can’t help override the fact Wellness’s endgame and overall plotline feel like letdowns from the long journey we’ve taken to get there.
Verbinski’s journey takes off with a bang and rockets along for the first act as we’re thrust into this bizarre otherworldly like place but as we begin to understand the answers to the films mysteries and with a finale that seems cut from another film entirely, you begin to understand that Wellness had a clearly troubled time culminating its idea into a satisfactory whole.
Filled with tidbits and brief scenes that seemingly play an important part in proceedings yet we have no idea why, it does feel as though a large portion of Wellness was thrown into the end product for nothing more than the for the sake of doing so and a more focussed and tonally strong edit of the film could’ve really helped this original experience reach its full potential.
Final Say –
A disappointing film, but a film many will no doubt grow to love, there’s much to like about A Cure for Wellness and this unique trip is certainly unlike anything else from recent memory but Verbinski’s eye-popping experience fails to connect all its elements into a satisfactory whole and no amount of eye candy can act as a cure for a story that doesn’t meet its vast potential.
2 ½ dental appointments out of 5