Movie, Reviews

“A Cure for Wellness” a Twisted Thriller

 

Oddly enough the film A Cure for Wellness actually makes a lot of sense. The two hour and a half film delves into the psyche of a man who tries to make contact with the boss of his company. The mystery thriller takes a few twists and turns on its way to providing closure while leading the viewer through a suspense filled labyrinth of deception.

A young executive at a stock brokerage in New York City, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), finds himself in a precarious position when he’s told to fetch the CEO Mr. Pembroke (Harry Groener) from a medical retreat high in the Swiss Alps. With the company’s back to the wall due to some inside trading, Lockhart’s mission is not going to be easy. It’s been a long trip, and he’s about to face an even harder task.

Dane DeHaan as Lockhart in A CURE FOR WELLNESS

The beautiful wellness center sits atop a mountain peak with a devilish road to the top. Here Lockhart finds an oasis of amazing views, a lush spa and a large staff of nurses and doctors. The medical spa is headed up by Volmer (Jason Isaacs) a premiere medical scientist who lives to keep his elder guests living well and extending their mortality.

Jason Isaacs as Volmer in A CURE FOR WELLNESS

But it’s not all that it seems to be when Lockhart meets the young and beautiful Hannah (Mia Goth) who seems to be out of place among the elderly guests. Director Gore Verbinski, mostly known for the first three of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, helms this weird and vague suspense thriller.

In A Cure for Wellness Verbinski deals with the mysterious Volmer a different kind of marauder. This one has brought the rich to his special spa serving them a potion with hopes of keeping them young and vibrant. Verbinski then adds a thorn in the ointment with the impetuous Lockhart who sticks his nose into Volmer’s money maker and throws a monkey wrench into his plan. Actually the film could have been another sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean if you could twist the plot a bit more, change the costumes and use locations in the Gulf of Mexico. Just saying.

Hannah (Mia Goth) gazes from the castle in A CURE FOR WELLNESS

While the acting does make the grade, it’s the sets, interiors and locations that saves the film from a downhill skid. Verbinski turns a mountain retreat into more of a rehab for the rich and lonely. Keeping well gets imbedded into his “patients’” being and they become followers rather than living the life. After all they have everything at their disposal; a beautiful oasis on a mountain top, exercise groups in lavish swimming pools, and a maze of special rooms where they perform the “procedures”. Anyone for a dip in a water tank?

A Cure for Wellness has been rated R by the MPAA for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language. Well that should explain it all. Or just check out the trailer on this page.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A cool film for those that like the bizarre

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Harry Groener
Directed and written by: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content and images, sexual content including an assault, graphic nudity, and language 
Running Time: 2 hrs. 26 min.
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com