A Cure for Wellness Review
Director: Gore Verbinski.
Gore Verbinski isn't a well known name among general audiences when compared to say, Spielberg or Scorsese, or even Nolan for that matter, but he's directed some rather record breaking and well known pictures like the US version of The Ring and The Pirates of The Caribbean trilogy which broke more than a couple box office records even reaching a wider audience than Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.
He has a distinctive style that can almost set him apart from other directors, though many use detailed wide angled shots, it's he use of colour tone that stands out for me giving that filtered look to enchants the atmosphere and mood of the story. Everything in The Mexican felt washed in orange and sand where as The Ring was filmed using a palette of blue, grey and green. A Cure for Wellness has a similar sublime tones with incredible details. I adore Verbinski's use of reflective shots using all manner of mirror surfaces like a window or a pool of water adding another dimension to the scene. It's something I personally enjoy doing with my photography.
Written and directed by Verbinski, alongside writer Justin Haythe, they tell a story of a power hungry company executive who is sent to retrieve the company's CEO from a sanatorium in a remote part of the Swiss Alps. All isn't what it seems on the surface, with both patients and staff under some sort of spell. Theres a dark history that floats about the ground, almost totally elusive to its inhabitants. It's very well written, half expecting it to have been sourced from a novel.
Dane DeHaan takes the lead as the ambitious Mr. Lockhart sent to get his Chief Exec and return him to New York for impeding business matters but what he finds instead, is questions to his own sanity as he tries to unravel the rather irritable mystery that shrouds the sanatorium. He reminds me of a younger, angry Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jason Isaacs does what he does best, playing that ever so polite but concealing nasty as the proprietor and head doctor Volmer, who offers his clients a cure to their excessive consumerism and greedy, material happiness. He's very inviting, convincing but cunning with something sinister under the skin.
The performances are strong, balanced with an ever curious Lockhart, the agreeable Volmer spiked with the innocent, immature Hannah played superbly well by Mia Goth. But it's DeHaan's performance that saves the film, even though Lockhart isn't even a likeable character, he's someone that's likely to rudely push in front of people with little, if any care for anyone else but himself.
It reminded me of films like Shutter Island, The Shining or something Shyamalan might conjure, it's a psychological thriller that lacks the scares but keeps your attention on high with incredible imagery and superior editing. The stunning choice of location is perfect also, being Castle Hohenzollern in Germany, though the story is set in the Swiss Alps. It's certainly a place where dark horror fantasies could be born, maybe housing an modern Dracula.
What I found outstanding was Benjamin Wallfisch resonating score which will have you humming the melody to yourself moments and possibly days later. It's enchanting and mystical that could accompany any dark fantasy, even Harry Potter or a sinister Tim Burton picture. The themes are incredible, but beautiful yet deceitful and haunting especially with Hannah's lullaby that's softly sung becoming more of an alluring tease.
It's mesmerising yet certainly not for the weak stomached and especially people with a hatred for dentists. But as the mystery deepens, it unfortunately becomes predictable and claustrophobic, giving in to a twisted ending that's rather anticlimactic no matter how disturbing it is. It's more about suspense and tension building than scaring viewers. You're taken on a rollercoaster ride that never actually drops.
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 6
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yeah.