Monday, February 13, 2017


A Cure for Wellness is the new horror-thriller feature from acclaimed director Gore Verbinski. The film tells the story of a young upward moving company-man for a Wall Street financial firm who is sent to Switzerland to bring the reclusive CEO back from a sanitarium to handle some issues back in New York. At the sanitarium the young protagonist realizes that there may be more nefarious things going on than apparent from the outside. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Harry Groener, and Jason Isaacs.

Writing this review a week after I saw the film was essential for me because, I confess, I wasn’t fully sure how I felt about the film walking out of the theater. At the time I felt that I enjoyed the movie and that it was solid overall. Though that hasn’t necessarily waned, it has become tempered in various ways. This film got me thinking and trying to dig into the depths of its concept and recalling a lot of interesting components from the film. That, by itself, is an achievement. The film kind of fell apart though and I think the ways that it fell apart makes positively reviewing this film problematic.

Beginning with the positives, I think this is a really interesting film. The film is relentlessly mysterious and intriguing. It gets you trying to unravel the mysteries of the story but also thinking more broadly about why the characters are motivated to do what they do in the film. I can’t say more than that without spoiling. However, I will say that even a week later I am still thinking about it and trying to resolve certain things in my mind. It’s tough for a film to do that and to get me adequately invested to get into that mental space. That is a major positive for any film, but it is especially great in a genre film because it is something that inherently takes you out of reality.

The film is as thought provoking as it is because of the way it is directed. Verbinski pulled out all the stops with this film, making something extremely unique in his own voice. The way he put together this story and assembled all of the elements to make this film successfully is impressive and a credit to his ability. The two elements that he really nailed in terms of choices was selecting Bojan Bazelli for cinematography and Eve Stewart for production design. The work these two put in on the film was impeccable and really made this cool and unique. I don’t see enough genre films with as interesting cinematography as in this film and that is a huge credit to Bazelli. This is probably going to end up being one of the best looking films of 2017 (and is the best of everything I have thus far). Stewart also brings a lot with the production and art design behind this film. The atmospheric thrills brought to this film would not be there without the very specific unique look Stewart and Verbinski developed for this film that makes it stand apart from similar films.

The last positive thing I want to bring up are the performances of Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs. DeHaan is a quietly talented actor. I don’t think this is a breakthrough role for him by any means, but he felt effective throughout and managed to be a good viewpoint character for the audience into this weird and disconcerting world. Isaacs absolutely chews the scenery in this film. He plays his role up in an extreme fashion that really works in the context of the film. He adds a necessary flavor to the film that spices up the intrigue and takes it to a whole new level.

The film is extremely flawed in its ending, however. I think the way certain secrets are revealed in the film felt sudden and divergent from the underlying purpose or message the film seemed like it was attempting to convey. I also found myself thinking that the way certain things go didn’t feel copacetic with what was set up in the rest of the film, particularly during the climax. It is inevitably difficult to explain the nature of the issue without spoiling but, suffice to say, I found it be very jarring and difficult to accept at the end.

On top of my problems with the ending the film also had several other failings. It didn’t adequately explain certain things that it really needed to which left me rather bewildered. There are moments that felt extremely sudden and out of step with the rest of the narrative. Finally, the film was, definitively, too long. At nearly two and a half hours, A Cure for Wellness does drag and repeat ideas at times. Sometimes this was effective, but overall I can easily think of a solid amount of film that could be cut to make this a tighter and more condensed narrative overall.

A Cure for Wellness is, for me, an undeniably interesting, thought provoking, and visually stunning piece of cinema. I think it has some serious story flaws, particularly with its conclusion and with its selective explanation of events. Those issues, coupled with jarring moments and it being overlong, make me question how good this is overall. The fact that I haven’t stopped thinking about this is a testament to the quality that it does have and I will give it the credit it is due as a generally solid piece.

Ryan’s Score: 7/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment