A CURE FOR WELLNESS – A Review by John Strange
When you are asked to review a film, you look at the various types of advanced information available. You check out IMDb, YouTube and other outlets. When I was asked to review A Cure For Wellness I was uncertain what I was walking into. First I read the information available in the email and then I watched the trailer. What I saw intrigued me.
We have a company whose board wants to complete a merger, only they can’t. Why, because the man who has to sign the papers, the CEO, is in a mysterious “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps. He has sent the company a message that he is not coming home. He likes it there! The first choice to bring him home isn’t available (he’s dead).
Next in line is Lockhart. Now Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) isn’t happy about taking time out to go get Pembroke (Harry Groener) but he figures it won’t take him long. Well, not long if you discount the jet and train rides required to reach the spa.
Arriving at the train station, he is driven to the castle by the Slavic-looking Enrico (Ivo Nandi), a local man used by the center. Enrico tells Lockhart that he drives a lot of people TO the center but never drives them BACK to the train station.
With this in the back of his head, Lockhart enters the center where he gets the run-around. He is told he can see his boss the next day. In a huff, he leaves the center but winds up back there when a stag jumps in front of the car causing a crash.
This film takes you down the rabbit hole as Lockhart tries to make sense of what is going on. For every answer he gets, two new questions arise. His boss is adamant that he does NOT want to leave for any reason. In fact, NOT ONE of the patients there are willing to leave.
The story, loosely taken from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, takes us deep into an enigmatic spa that does not appear to cure anyone of anything. Instead, the patients, while happy, seem to be dying one inch at a time. They appear to be supplying a cure for wellness!
The answers, when they come, might not be as satisfying as you might want them to be. If that is important to you, then you need to watch comedies. Psychological horror films don’t always tie everything up in a tidy package. They like to make you think. In the case of A Cure For Wellness the answers come complete with naked breasts, fires, and death. And it does a pretty good job of granting us a nice little plot twist for its final scene (wish it made up for the previous 10 minutes).
Did I like the film? Yes, I did, at least most of it. I could have done with fewer views of unclothed patients (and one nurse). These are NOT the beautiful people you assume you will find in a center like this. These are aging men and women, well past their prime, who have not taken good care of their bodies. Ugh.
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
MPAA Rating: R (for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language)
Selig Rating: C
Runtime: 146 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.