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A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby ctaulbee » Jun Sat 17, 2017 5:37 pm

A Cure For Wellness (2017)


Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie, Harry Groener, Tomas Norström

Directed by Gore Verbinski
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch        
Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli
Screenplay by Justin Haythe

Running time: 146 minutes

Rated R for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language.




Dane DeHaan plays an ambitious young executive in "A Cure For Wellness,", who is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests there longing for the cure.  

This is a film in which visual motifs are far more lovingly developed than characters. That's clear from the opening scene, in which a New York finance executive Craig Wroe reads a handwritten, seemingly deranged letter from a colleague, then succumbs to a heart attack. While the man's death has negligible bearing on the plot, all the scene's accoutrements — a sinister burping water cooler, glittering reflections on a ceiling, skyscrapers looming like sea monsters through the murk — tell us what the film is actually about, or wants to be. Water, the basis of life. Reflective surfaces. (Humanity is the only species capable of self-reflection, one of those portentous letters helpfully informs us.) And the monstrous nature of modern corporate life.


That last theme is embodied by our protagonist, Lockhart Dane DeHaan, a scheming up-and-comer who takes the dead man's place at the firm. To save his career from the fallout of his own misdeeds, he must go to Switzerland and retrieve the author of the letters: Pembroke Harry Groener, who checked into a utopian "wellness center" in the Alps and never checked out.

Anyone familiar with the history of horror, from Dracula to Hostel, knows where this is going. The spa is the dark castle of our hoariest nightmares, complete with unsettling backstory, steampunk plumbing, underground passages and a forlorn maiden in a white dress Mia Goth. Once Lockhart arrives, circumstances naturally conspire to trap him there. And the spa director Jason Isaacs seems all too disturbingly insistent on the power of the local water to cleanse those corporate toxins.

The plot is a cat-and-mouse game in which the fresh-faced ugly American does his best to outwit the forces of old-world decadence, with diminishing success. Boyishly handsome with a heartless gleam in his eye, DeHaan gives the character a fun, nasty zing. But hints that the film will delve into the protagonist's troubled psyche, Shutter Island-style, don't pay off. Lockhart doesn't reveal new sides so much as simply undergo a series of increasingly invasive "treatments" that will have squeamish moviegoers hiding their eyes.

Anyone expecting a meaningful payoff from the script's lofty talk of spiritual health and disease will be disappointed; for all its length and visual artistry,
"A Cure For Wellness," is no more profound than Hostel. Both films are about callow egotists finding their strength through ghastly punishment — and, more than anything, both cater to the audience's desire to see such arrogance brought low.

It's not much of a goal — a sadistic one, perhaps. Yet Verbinski achieves it with such impeccable atmospherics and pictorial flair, drawing on the whole history of movies about creepy hotels and institutions, that fans of this Gothic sub-genre should have a look. More outré than actually scary, Wellness is no The Shining. But it does suggest a Hammer Horror flick filtered through the self-awareness of The Grand Budapest Hotel, every image designed to reflect our expectations back at us with a knowing, malevolent wink.


EFX Rating30 stars


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Re: A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby Fogdude » Jun Sat 17, 2017 6:22 pm

Nope, nope, nope &... NOPE.
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Re: A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby VincentLupo » Jun Sun 18, 2017 6:09 pm

Great review CT.  I now know for sure that I will not be watching this.
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Re: A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby ctaulbee » Jun Sun 18, 2017 6:25 pm

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Re: A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby chouette » Jun Sun 18, 2017 6:53 pm

LOL, cute monkey. Must be art house if CT is that excited to share it...  :roll :D
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Re: A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Postby alienmem » Jun Sun 18, 2017 8:03 pm

I watched this one what, like a week ago.
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