A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski is a bit of a hit or miss director. I think The Ring was a fantastic horror film but The Pirates of the Caribbean films aren’t that great (outside of the first one which is fun). He’s a visual filmmaker as you can tell from a work like Rango but can also bomb miserably like he did with The Lone Ranger. I was so intrigued by this films posters and trailer. After experiencing this film I will say that this film is visually fantastic as the scenes are shot so beautifully even if most of it is dark and grim looking. This film will divide audiences, I can see many hating it and becoming impatient with it. I for one, thought it was very good and worth the time and money.
The film is about a man named Lockhart who travels to a wellness center in the Swiss Alps to find his boss who mysteriously just disappeared to that location. When he goes there he immediately notices that things aren’t what they seem and that the facility harbors a very dark secret and the film spends time exploring all the crazy stuff that occurs. I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible but I have to share a bunch of things I really liked about this film. First off, let me say that this film doesn’t feel wholly original. I kept thinking of Shutter Island when watching the film. That’s fine because the film has a lot more going for it. The cinematography of the film at times is just gorgeous. I believe most of the film was shot out in Germany. All the scenes that show the facility and the mountainous terrain in the foreground are just wonderful. Its a visually beautiful film even if it is confined to the ugly graying white walls of the sanitarium like facility.
I haven’t seen Dane DeHaan in much but he was very solid in this. It’ll probably be a breakout performance for him and Mia Goth. Mia I’ve seen in Nymphomaniac Vol. II but she’s a star in this. She’s naturally and innocently gorgeous in this film. She’s a simple yet extremely alluring figure. This film itself is very alluring. Its dark and disturbing and tries to maintain appearances (much like the staff in the facility). The film is slow and long but I think it builds up nicely towards dark secrets. While I’d say the twists and turns aren’t very surprising, I really enjoyed everything I saw. There’s a bunch of creepy imagery and the film doesn’t shy away from sudden violence. Its all lovely in the darkest way.
I think this is Verbinski’s best film to date because he captured complete institutional madness. Its visually symmetry is so enchanting, so many of these images are gorgeous. However, I felt like the third at of the film is a bit of a weak point. The story gets a bit muddled, predictable, and head scratching all at once. I think this is what holds it back from being a solid 8 out of 10, however I think this film will get an improved rating on a second watch. It’s one of those that needs time to sink in because there’s just something special lingering about it.