A Cure For Wellness (2017) Review

Shutter Island + Crimson Peak +Tim Burton and a Dash of The Ring = A Cure For Wellness. Things are definitely not what they seem, but they sure are beautiful.

Release Date: February 17th, 2017.

“Are You Ready To Begin Mr. Lockhart?”

Before you read my review: This film is definitely not for everybody, but if you’re interested in seeing it, whether you saw the teaser trailer or what have you, its definitely worth checking out, as its an experience to be had.

I am so glad that I finally got to go see this film in theatres, it was one of my most anticipated films of the year and it was definitely a big screen, big sound experience. My brother told me about this film after seeing a trailer for it, and I immediately looked up the teaser trailer and was hooked, I was completely in for this type of film, it looked utterly unique and something special. I honestly avoided all other trailers for this film, as I didn’t want to know any of the story elements involved.

A Cure For Wellness is a Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Psychological Thriller about an ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness centre” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

A Cure For Wellness is directed by Gore Verbinski. Gore Verbinski’s filmography consists of Mousehunt (1997), The Ring (2002), Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003), Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2011), and Rango (2011). Gore Verbinski is a great director that accomplishes these ridiculous shots that not any normal person would think to try to accomplish. It bums me out still thinking that he was the first person that was approached to do a BioShock movie (a Video game series that started in 2007 by Irrational Games), and he demanded a couple hundred million and a hard R rating. The studio denied the R rating, but wanted to have a PG-13 rating, which if you’ve played the BioShock games or know what they are wouldn’t work… anyways I’m rambling. I hope that he gets re-approached to do a BioShock film as he is a brilliant story teller, world builder and film maker. A Cure For Wellness didn’t feel like a movie, but more like a fever dream, and I don’t think this is an easy task to accomplish. There were scenes where you were shocked about what was going on and how it was filmed. I think I was more into how this film was crafted than the story, but I was captivated by the entire thing. Verbinski brought me into this weird fantasy land, and has now kept me there for a day, this film hasn’t left my mind, and I hope I can write a solid review of it. I can’t wait to see how Gore Verbinski follows up this film, and I hope its as breath taking as this one.

A Cure For Wellness was written by Justin Haythe and Gore Verbinski. Justin Haythe’s filmography consists of Revolutionary Road (2008), and Snitch (2013). Gore Verbinski’s writing credits include Rango (2011). I thought the script to this movie was passable, it wasn’t anything to write home about, there were some script issues, and pacing issues. There were some scenes that could’ve been trimmed down for length and there were some scenes that needed to be fleshed out more. I thought the script was fine for what it needed to do, but in the end was saved by the visuals and how Verbinski crafted this film.

The subtlety in how the film is told out though is super interesting, as you are very much on this ride with Lockhart throughout the whole movie as well. You’re an onlooker to the madness that insues and there is some very subtle story telling that honestly I’m excited to watch it again to see if I can pick up more.

A Cure For Wellness’s cinematography needs to be discussed, because holy crap what a beautifully shot film. This film made me want to go visit the places where it was filmed, there was beautiful shots of this old castle that they used as the wellness centre, with high walls and beautiful gardens. There were these eloquently shot interior scenes that were well lit by natural light from windows that were breath-taking, and even the really dark scenes were shot with such a high degree of detail. This film is very interesting to me as well as it is mostly all white colours being used. White walls, white frames, white patient outfits, white doctors outfits, white orderlies, but theres a town down below where things are much dirtier and not clean. Which works with some of the themes of the movie. Theres a scene where 2 characters in white gowns go to down to the village below and that was a sort of turning point in the movie, because they come back “dirty” and their once white clothes are dirty. Its these small eyes for detail that make this film something special. I love the architecture in this movie too, the whole movie was just eye candy.

I also wanted to give special mention to the soundtrack. As it seems like a theme in my reviews, I love soundtracks to films. If I go and find your stuff on Tidal and add to to my library to listen to outside of watching the film, you’ve done something special. Its even more so if I go and buy your soundtrack in stores on physical disc, which surprisingly I have for a couple films in the past few years, or I’ve had them gifted to me. A Cure For Wellness’s soundtrack is a beautiful mix of this semi-classical music, mostly all instrumental with a couple of small instances of an almost weird humming sound. The music reminds me a lot of a Danny Elfman style/typical Gore Verbinski music that he would use for his films.

A Cure For Wellness stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, Jason Isaacs as Volmer and Mia Goth as Hannah.

Dane DeHaan’s filmography consists of The Place Beyond The Pines (2012), Chronicle (2012), Lincoln (2012), Metallica: Through The Never (2013), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014). I’ve always found Dane DeHaan a good actor, nothing spectacular, nothing crazy, but a good actor. Chronicle however still holds out for me as his best film, but I thought he was good in A Cure For Wellness. However, I see him more of a supplementary character in the roles he’s been in, and A Cure For Wellness is his first like major role where he’s the main character, and I don’t think it worked properly, I felt like there was a bit of inexperience leading a film, and his character may have suffered a bit, but in saying that he did a good job, but I wouldn’t say this is the best character i’ve seen on screen that he’s done ever.

Jason Isaac’s filmography consists of Armageddon (1998), Black Hawk Down (2001), Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002), Resident Evil (2002), Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010), Castlevania: Lords Of Shadows {Video Game} (2010), Green Zone (2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011), Fury (2014), Hitman {Video Game} (2016), and The OA {Netflix Original Series} (2016). Jason Isaac’s has been in a lot, he played the infamous Lucious Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, and honestly I didn’t even know it was him until I looked up his filmography on IMDB. He is a very capable actor, and its been interesting to see him play this role. I think he is a bit type casted as he’s always playing this weird father figure, except this time it was a bit more crazy. I’d be intrigued to see Isaacs in a leading role, I think he definitely has the range and the skill to do so.

Mia Goth’s filmography consists of well actually A Cure For Wellness is the first film I’ve seen with her in it. Mia Goth reminds me a lot of Mia Wasikowska, and no its not just because they both have the same first name. They have a very unique look about them, especially in their facial features. They almost look like dolls, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I think that this set of features is definitely an asset to have, and Mia Goth was able to use that to her advantage in the film. Seeing the film makes it make more sense then my ramblings. But I thought Mia Goth did a great job in this movie, she was odd, unique and weird, but definitely was interesting to watch. She had a strong performance and I’m intrigued to see what she does next.

Now, there are definitely things I loved about this movie, there were things I liked about this movie and there were things I disliked about this movie. I won’t use hate here, because hate is too strong of a word.

I loved the cinematography and the setting of the story. The visuals were definitely amazing, and to me you could see some inspiration from the one and only Guillermo Del Toro in the visuals. It reminded me of Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and especially Crimson Peak (2015). You were captivated by the visuals, I felt like there were parts of this movie that I wasn’t there for the story, but I was there to be shown something. The visual storytelling was phenomenal. I loved the mystery and atmosphere behind it too, it felt like Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010). I was glued to the screen for the entire run time, to try to figure out the puzzle and what was going on. I also loved how paranoid I felt as an audience member and I think that was intentional by Gore Verbinski, the film had me on the edge of my seat in some places and it showed me a lot of things I didn’t think I’d see on the big screen, but I appreciated seeing it.

I liked the characters in this movie. There were some stand out performances, and some very interesting characters. It wasn’t a perfect film in that respect by any means, but I felt like the visuals picked up the slack.

The things I disliked about A Cure For Wellness however was the runtime, the film was 2 hours and 26 minutes. I felt like it really didn’t need to be that long, and that some scenes could have been cut and manipulated or completely removed and the film would have still been good. I also felt like the ending wasn’t well executed, and I won’t spoil anything, but I felt a little removed from the ending. It would be interesting to watch it again however to see if my opinion of the ending changes, but 3/4’s of the film was great to me so far. I also felt like there were some supplementary characters that weren’t necessary to the plot of the film and that made the plot suffer a bit. I would have liked the story to be better put together, and I felt like it shared a similar vibe that I had with Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (2010), that it was more style and substance, but I however really enjoyed Crimson Peak.

I’ve rambled on enough. It took me a solid 24 hours to think, sleep and reflect on this movie. It felt like a greatest hits of Shutter Island mixed with the visuals of Crimson Peak and a hint of Tim Burtons style and throw in a dash of The Ring for good measure. I thought it was cool how there were a couple of little homages to The Ring (2002), which was a film Gore Verbinski directed, and terrified me for weeks as a kid, it was actually the first horror movie I actually remember watching at a younger age. Still one of my favourites too. Anyways… The sign of a good film in my eyes is a film that comes into your head and doesn’t leave for days, and this film is one I’ll be thinking about for a while, I’m also excited to get my hands on the Blu-Ray down the road, and add it to my collection. The visuals will be spectacular as they were the first time, but I’d be interested in hearing the commentary from Gore Verbinski to learn more about this film and how it came about and how he filmed it. Theres a lot more to this mystery of the Cure For Wellness to uncover, and I’ll be waiting patiently to learn more.

A Cure For Wellness, as I said had parts I loved, parts I liked and parts I disliked, but the visuals and the cinematography and parts of the mystery overshadow the parts I disliked and the faults of the story.

A Cure For Wellness gets a 4/5 from me. We need to support these original ideas in film making, because I am tired of these needless remakes and reboots of classic films. People complain that there is no originality left in Hollywood. Support these weirder films, and step out of your comfort zone! Its a breath of fresh air.

Until Next Time!


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