A Cure for Wellness Movie Review
A Cure for Wellness Movie Review Metadata
Dane DeHaan stars as Lockhart in Gore Verbinsky’s transgressive thriller A Cure for Wellness. Lockhart is suffering from yuuge success in this shallow materialistic world we all live in. He is a promising albeit expendable finance executive sent to retrieve his company’s bossman, who has since retreated to a Swiss sanitarium and pledged vehemently never to return.
Lockhart’s arrival at the centuries-old clinic isn’t greeted with much fanfare, but to be honest, Lockhart is kind-of a jerk. The clinic is reluctant to grant him facetime with his old boss and instead invites him in for treatment. He drinks the Kool-aid, which in this case is literally local water promised to contain healing properties. The act is akin to retreating upstairs from an axe-murderer. A series of unfortunate events leads to an extended vacation among the clinic’s Stepford patients and questionable hydra-therapeutic chambers and labyrinths. All this unwanted care is provided by Doctor Volmer, played particularly creepy by Mr. Jason Isaacs, in a way that convinces Lockhart something isn’t right about his spa-day.
Lockhart isn’t alone while searching for answers to WTF is going on behind the scenes. He meets a melancholy girl unlike the elderly rich folk roaming the grounds. The girl, Hannah, is Volmer’s “special case,” played by Mia Goth. Lockhart wants to help Hannah, giving viewers their first reason to root for the film’s protagonist. We could surmise Hannah is Lockhart’s “cure,” but hell no, Verbinsky isn’t going for traditionalism. Lockhart peels away layers of deceit revealing the incestual secrets behind his horrific convalescence, like prematurely picking at a scab to unveil the gory details below.
Similarly, I was drawn into the rabbit hole, eagerly awaiting the pay-off of Lockhart’s discoveries, but met with twenty minutes of inconsequential storytelling. I’d been Verbinsky’d. The tempo can be jarring as it darts between Lockhart’s sinister treatments and sleuthing, yet the world in which the Pirates of the Caribbean director has created is undeniably gorgeous and expertly composed.
When that third act finally hits and our suspicions are validated, A Cure for Wellness teeters into the absurd. This act, I believe, will divide audiences and catapult the film into cult status. I’ll happily include myself in that fanbase, understanding it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Regardless of cinematic craftsmanship, there’s just too much film to watch, and too much perverse and cringe content for mainstream audiences. Also, too many goddamn eels!
Is it what the doctor ordered? That depends. If your symptoms include a penchant for Cronenberg’s visceral horror and an M. Night Shyamalan twist, then perhaps you’ve found your cure.