By: April Meneghetti
Gore Verbinski, the man who gave us the first “Ring” movie, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, “Rango,” and “The Lone Ranger” is now back with this Hitchcockian gothic psychological thriller designed to keep you guessing till the very end. Even though its final 20 minutes somewhat go off the rails a bit, overall A CURE FOR WELLNESS is stunning, bold and hypnotic.
Dane DeHaan plays an ambitious young executive, Lockhart, sent to retrieve his company’s missing CEO who’s decided to stay at a remote wellness center in the Swiss Alps. What is supposed to be an easy assignment turns into a journey of slowly but surely uncovering the center’s dark past, uncovering the real reasons as to why the guests keep staying there, longing for the cure, as Lockhart himself starts to question his own sanity.
You will fall in love with the cinematography by DP Bojan Bazelli. Even if you’re not a fan of mystery or suspense, Bazelli’s cinematography for “A Cure For Wellness’ will leave you floored, the word breathtaking doesn’t even begin to fairly describe it. There are shots through the tunnel, around the castle, and even during some of the film’s most disturbing moments, they draw you in, gorgeous in every possible way. And the fact that they actually filmed a big chunk on location at Castle Hohenzollern in Germany does help because the place becomes a supporting role.
Ever since “Chronicle,” Dane DeHaan has been an actor that’s caught my attention because I do believe that this rising star has what it takes to be great, A CURE FOR WELLNESS allows him to showcase a tease of that potential. His performance reminds me of Leo DiCaprio’s in “Shutter Island” and Jack Nicholson’s in “The Shining” where to a certain extent, you’re not certain if they’d eventually cross that line or remain on this side of the fence. A CURE FOR WELLNESS is trippy, it’s intriguing, it’s filled with all kinds of odd imagery, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a sensory experience type of a film, the kind that also evokes all sorts of questions about society and what it means to live well and the ambition for purity. But again, as I said earlier, the final 20 minutes do go off the rails a bit, by that time the film feels like it runs longer than it should and furthermore it gets ruined by its desire to leave us on a happy note. A CURE FOR WELLNESS will find its audience, but it’s an acquired taste.
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