A CURE FOR WELLNESS
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Screenplay by Justin Haythe
Story By Justin Haythe and Gore Verbinski
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Cinematographer Bojan Bazelli
Film Editing by Pete Beaudreau and Lance Pereira
Casting By Denise Chamian
Filmed on location in Germany ~ Castle Hohenzollern, Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Heilstätten, Beelitz, Brandenburg, Germany; Schraplau, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany; and Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany
I squeal. You squeal. We all squeal at eels. Actually, these guys don’t bother me; look how teeny their little mouths are. Besides, there was an Eel Wrangler on set to keep those big nightcrawlers well in hand. They do look like they are about high school mentality and could get that snarky.
*SPOILER* IF YOU HAVE NOT PROBLEM WITH EELS DO NOT READ THIS PARAGRAPH.*Seriously, if you are frightened or repulsed by eels or anything like them, this is not your movie. You will end up with your eyes closed more than 50% of the film, way more. There was one scene involving ingestion of the creatures. It was physically impossible, but I was horrified and sickened. The film is not great, so there is no need to subject yourself to this. *SPOILER OVER*
Ambition can get you to step on anyone to get up the golden ladder to anywhere you want. It can make you feel bulletproof. In the business world, in the slimy world of finance, one is only invulnerable as long as the people at the top don’t need you to take a bullet for the company. That time has come for Lockhart (DaHaan); unless he can go to the Swiss Alps and retrieve the AWOL CEO from an enigmatic clinic that offers a “wellness cure.”
With the choice of serious jail time or finding Pembroke (Groener) and bringing him back to close a deal, it’s not really a choice. It’s also not going to be as easy as Lockhart thought. His first clue: the people in the village want nothing to with the castle or the people in it, the clinic. Only the driver Enrico (Nandi) will go near the clinic.
When an accident lands him in the clinic he begins to his search for Pembroke. What he finds makes him suspicious that the clinic’s “treatments” are not what the clinic touts. To his horror, he begins to exhibit the signs of the same “cure” that keeps the patients at the clinic Feverishly, he risks being caught by the creepy clinic director (Isaacs), digging ever deeper into what is beneath the treatments, and more terrifying secrets that are almost impossible to believe.
So impossible that they just might be delusions. Lockhart has been under so much stress. And his childhood? *tsk* What sane person could survive that without damage? What damaged person wouldn’t begin to show signs of the underlying conditions? Hearing voices. Hallucinating. Imagining the wildest stories and trying to convince others they are true. Someone with those serious problems needs help. Where could they get the gentle care help they need?
If you have have seen the trailers you know all this, and if you have any phobias or mental health issues the plot may make you a bit uncomfortable. Watching the film made me quite uncomfortable; anything where someone is being gaslighted or someone sane is institutionalised against their will petrifies me. Just so you know.
A Cure For Wellness runs 146 minutes, which is far too long for a film that audiences aren’t wishing would just keep going like The Drop or Fantastic Mr. Fox. Scenes with Hannah (Goth) especially dragged. I’m waiting for a role where Mia Goth isn’t Mia Goth (one coat of mascara and a B-12 shot would probably do it). She is not give an Oscar-worthy role, but it does call for range that she does not give it to the camera. Perhaps, her best work was left on the cutting room floor; let’s say that.
The lack of energy is not just her fault; despite the presence of some talented actors: Dane DaHaan (Lawless), Jason Isaacs (“Lucius Malfoy”), Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and actor/dancer/illusionist Magnus Krepper in a far too brief appearance. The entire movie drags. It appears to be a case of a director who fell in love with his own story and refused to cut a single scene or reduce it to a reference in another scene. Lockhart’s search could certainly have done with some judicious squeezing, as the same outcome happened so many times it became anti-climatic. One can only shout at the screen, “Maybe if you stopped acting crazy…” and “How about leaving and getting real police? Huh?” before you just want Lockhart to get killed or something so it will be over.
Is A Cure For Wellness worth your time? Well, it’s better than The Great Wall, if you want a timely comparison. It is another movie that gets about as white as it gets, which is just boring nowadays. Lion, The Lego Batman Movie, Hidden Figures, and Split are still out. Spend your money there. Even better? Arrival and Manchester By The Sea are at Redbox and available OnDemand. Concentrate on those two films and Lion and you will have seen the best of 2016.
That reminds me, I’ll be spending time Thursday night taking in Get Out, Jordan Peele’s feature film directorial debut. He is also the writer of what is definitely not a comedy, like Keanu, which I did enjoy, though I admit wasn’t the greatest film, but I can like what I like. I’m withholding judgement on this, of course, but I cannot not go. When I went to see Split, there was a group of maybe five whitebread twentyish folks a couple rows ahead of me. The trailer for Get Out came on and one of the young women said. “That’s racist!” Quite loud. I hope, hope, hope I’ll be there when she goes to see it; I want to check out if she brought her one black friend to go with her.