Quick Hit: Ambitiously crazy, filled with haunting imagery, the narrative shortfalls keep this from being what it could have been.
Holy crap. There’s not too many large budget movies that allow themselves to go so completely and totally crazy. There’s a lot going on in this film, some of which is easy to spot – right from the beginning there is the obvious comparison to the way Americans put too much of an importance on business and money, but there’s more than that here. A haunting body horror begins to form the more that more that we find out about Cure.
The movie stars Dane DeHaan (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) as an up and coming salesman named Lockhart who is sent by the board to bring back the head of a prestigious company from a sanitarium. Once there, he encounters Dr. Volmer (Jason Issacs), who quickly pronounces Lockhart ill. From there, the story spirals, including the inclusion of a mysterious young girl named Hannah (Mia Goth).
There are some truly outstanding visuals throughout the film, and some beautiful camerawork. Director Gore Verbinski shows what made The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl such great movies – he possesses a hunger for different angles, frequently showing us cuts of the characters from reflections in all kinds of surfaces. Unfortunately, he also shows what made the following Pirates movies go downhill – a propensity for allowing the story to spiral out of control, with subplots galore and a narrative thread that grows at twice the rate of the screen time. By the end of the flick, there are few things that make sense, or are even really interesting.
But man, there are some absolutely terrifying images here. It’s easy to remember how haunting it was to watch Samara exit from the television, dripping water (ironically, water plays a large role in what Cure is about as well) when you watch the jump cuts to characters eyes and incisors. There are some really, really unsettling moments, especially one near the end of the movie. There is another moment related to dentistry that could hold up against the famous eyes forced open scene in Kubrick’s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.
Dane DeHaan plays, well, the same character he tends to play in most things. He starts as a d-bag, and moves into a character that isn’t uninteresting, but isn’t interesting either. For most of the screen time, he’s just there. It’s Isaacs (who you may remember played Lucius Malfoy – but unfortunately without the white-blonde locks here) that steals the show. The man somehow exudes malice and intrigue without trying, and makes the film a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who wants to feel terrifically uncomfortable.
In the end, A Cure For Wellness is bloated and overlong, with subpar acting and a mess of a story. But it carries with it visuals and camerawork that buoy it to a much higher grade than it should receive. I’m giving it a “C-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"