A Cure for Wellness (2017) Review

Time: 146 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, sexual violence, offensive language & content that may disturb.
Cast
Dane DeHaan as Lockhart
Jason Isaacs as Dr. Heinreich Volmer
Mia Goth as Hannah
Director: Gore Verbinski

An ambitious young executive (Dane Dehaan) 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 here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.

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A Cure for Wellness was very polarising upon its release, some hated it, others loved it. It definitely had a lot of potential, I liked the actors involved with Dane Dehaan and Jason Isaacs, I really like Gore Verbanski as a director and the trailer and premise of the movie was very intriguing. So I was definitely interested in how the film would be despite the mixed reaction. Having finally seen it, I personally think that it’s one of the best films of the year.

A Cure for Wellness is a long movie, it’s nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes long but it kept my interest from the beginning to the end. Yes, the pacing is quite slow at times, perhaps unnecessarily at times, but I was nonetheless engaged despite this. This movie is not completely different from anything we’ve seen before, watching it you can recognise some similarities to other movies (such as Shutter Island). What is different is the way the film tells its story, the structure is a little different, all the details of the movie are important to understanding everything, some of these aspects are ambigious and you actually have to really think about to full grasp what’s going on. I know this because that’s what happened with me, there were parts of the movie that I only understood hours after watching the movie, when certain things clicked for me I could more fully grasp what was going on. However generally the movie is straightforward, with maybe the exception with the ending (specifically the last shot of the movie) which is a little ambiguous. However, with many of the details being ambiguous and with all the twists and turns throughout the film, I can see A Cure For Wellness getting better upon repeat viewings. In terms of flaws, there aren’t many to be honest. There was a possible continuity error and the first act is non-linear for no reason really, it didn’t bother me or hinder the film but it did feel unnecessary. However that’s it to be honest.

The acting all around is great. Dane Dehaan is really good in the lead role. There is an aspect to the film where its questioning whether Dehaan’s character is just imagining and hallucinating a lot of what’s happening and Dane pulls it off well. Mia Goth is quite good as a unique patient at the wellness centre, her performance really worked for the movie. This is the first performance I’ve seen from her and I can tell that she’s very talented, she definitely deserves some more work. The best performance of the film however is from Jason Isaacs, who is in the role of the director of the wellness centre, a very sinister character, definitely leaves an impression on you.

The direction by Gore Verbenski is perfect. The cinematography was excellent, everything from the framing, to the camera movement, the lighting and colour was perfect. It’s a beautiful looking movie overall. This movie is full of disturbing imagery, things that make you genuinely uneasy and uncomfortable, and I don’t usually feel like this during movies so that says a lot. The production design is excellent, the location chosen for the majority of the film is a castle and it gives the film a very unique enbironment. This movie also does well at making you feel uneasy, you can tell that something is off, but a lot of the time you can’t pin it down what it is. The sound design was very effective and it all worked to feel very real and unnerving, the creaking sounds of Dane Dehaan’s crutches as he moves from place to place (he is on crutches for the majority of the film) was an example of this. The music by Benjamin Wallfisch ranges from being haunting and eerie to loud and intense, definitely very effective and memorable. I’m confident in saying that A Cure for Wellness is really one of the best directed movies of 2017 so far.

A Cure of Wellness gets everything right, the acting is great, the story is very intriguing and its different structure and storytelling method makes this a unique and fascinating movie. However, it is Gore Verbenski’s direction that ties everything together and makes everything work so well and makes this movie even better than it already is. As shown by the reactions, it seems that A Cure for Wellness is not for everyone. It is a weird movie, along with the dark tone and grim and grotesque imagery, it is a very different movie in terms of its structure, this structure could potentially turn some people off. If you are curious enough however I recommend checking it. I personally think that it’s safe to say that A Cure for Wellness is going to be one of those films which receives a mixed response upon its release but gains a cult following and is later appreciated as an excellent film.

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