“A Cure for Wellness” is directed by Gore Verbinski and stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, and Harry Groener. The film is about a young business executive who is sent to a wellness center located in Switzerland, but when he gets there, he begins to find that this center may not be exactly what he expected.
This is a movie that I had some interest in, but I also didn’t come in expecting a masterpiece. Gore Verbinski has some gems in his résumé with the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film and “Rango”, but he also has “The Lone Ranger”, so even with some really cool looking visuals in the trailers, I came in with relatively low expectations.
There are some truly striking visual moments throughout this film, and these unique flashes of imagery were the highlight parts of the film. Cinematographer Bojan Bazelli comes together with some really stunning shots that build the tension up to a maximum, and these are the moments that bring the most originality to the film. One shot immediately after the introduction involving a train is absolutely breathtaking, and one that I recommend viewing in the trailer, as I was absolutely mesmerized by it both then and in the movie.
Along with the suspenseful imagery and visuals, Gore Verbinski is also quite unrelenting in many of his bits of horror, with the camera never shying away from the vulgarity, something that I found myself really respecting in this movie. Many times these thrillers go for the PG-13 rating and avoid the harshness of the scenes, but here there are many cringe-worthy R-rated moments throughout, and many sent a chill down my spine.
Dane DeHaan, someone who I loved in “Chronicle” and have not liked much since was very good in the lead role here, for the most part. Aside from a few moments of stiff dialogue or some overacting, I found myself relating to DeHaan’s situation, and also began to be compelled by the layers his character had, and I have to credit a lot of that from his performance.
My favorite performance from the movie has to go to Jason Isaacs for his role as the man who runs the treatment center, as his character was the one I felt myself going the most back and forth on. One moment, Isaacs has me rooting for him, and another I wonder if he is a madman, and this back and forth between him and DeHaan was the most intriguing element of anything going on in the movie.
There are a lot of strong ideas going on at numerous points of the film, as well as a booming score by Benjamin Wallfisch that I have to point out. These ideas may be a bit familiar, but in the setting and style that Verbinski uses, these concepts feel fresh in a way and allowed me to really stay gripped into the plot for quite a while.
The runtime absolutely did not have to be a baffling 146 minutes, in fact, it could have easily been under 100. While much of the movie is intriguing enough, there are quite a few scenes, and a character in particular, that I found to add little to the table as a whole. There is also a concept that I believed to be a great one, but it is almost dropped entirely by the end, and I almost wish that the movie went in the direction of that thought instead of the way it eventually went.
Mia Goth, who may be a fine actress, just never really grabbed me in her role here. Her character starts off interesting, but never grew on me as much as I wanted it to, and whether that be from the rather bland performance to the weak character development, I feel that if her character would have bloomed, it would have really helped the film grow stronger as a whole.
The concluding moments of this film could have really brought the house down and made this a gripping, tense thriller that was strongly worth checking out. Instead, it left me really on the fence about the film in general. The end is shaky and, honestly, a bit ridiculous, and while the moments leading up to the finale work very well, the finale itself throws all of that out the window for some hokey, predictable reveals that ended up leaving a sour taste in my mouth.
“A Cure for Wellness”, while way too long and lacking a solid ending, boasts way too many good things to call it a failure. Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs do great work, and the cinematography and score both add a very creepy, tense-filled feel to much of the film, and even if there are moments that could have easily been cut out, there are just as many standout moments that really got me involved. “A Cure for Wellness” may be difficult to stick with for the vast runtime, but there are still many elements of the movie that makes the film worth your time.
What did you think of “A Cure for Wellness”? Comment below with your thoughts.