Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs
for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language.
Reviewer: Kent Tentschert
Corporate slave Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is sent by his crass superiors to retrieve their company C.E.O. from a remote wellness center in Switzerland.
Initially, this relaxing spa seems wonderful and inviting, but soon Lockhart begins suspecting that something nefarious is going on.
The More he tries to gather his charge and flee, the deeper he falls into submission.
As Lockhart unravels the mystery behind his “wellness” the clock starts ticking to his demise.
“A Cure For Wellness” will be compared to “Shutter Island” simply for its narrative of subtle imprisonment, but also for its well-travelled story path.
Lockhart is an unlikeable corporate wonk willing to use any means to reach the top. When his equally dishonest bosses cajole him into retrieving their C.E.O. in order to use him as a scapegoat for an upcoming merger, Lockhart sees a promotion in his near future. As he arrives at the spa, a mystery begins to unfold for Lockhart. Unfortunately, this mystery is shaky and poorly defined.
The clues that are set-up are not fully used, nor are they defined enough to propel the mystery. Eels are used as a creepy threat, a therapy device and symbolism for the elusive “cure” that all spa guests seek, however, they really serve little purpose as this disjointed, confusing story unfolds. The devices that director Gore Verbinski uses to create twists in the film are either predictable or add to the plot confusion.
That said, there are some bright moments in this film. The acting is very good with Dane DeHaan and Jason Isaacs (as Dr. Volmer) elevating this stinker making it more palatable. In addition, the production design is really nice with an inviting spa grounds, old fort-like exteriors and memorable interiors that absolutely offer us a spa setting but with a very creepy undertone.
Where this film really stumbles is in making every character unlikeable. Viewers don’t care about the two sympathetic characters – Lockhart and the odd adolescent Hannah (Mia Goth), so their struggles to survive fall on indifferent eyes and ears.
Add uncomfortable and unnecessary sexual situations and gratuitous nudity and this creepy film becomes the wrong kind of creepy during the climax (no pun intended).
“A Cure For Wellness” certainly won’t cure viewers’ longing for a good film as Gore Verbinski fails to administer a proper therapy for entertainment.