In Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure For Wellness,” Dane DeHaan plays Lockhart, the representative of a multi-million dollar corporation who is sent to Switzerland to find and retrieve a business shareholder who has been held up in a mysterious, yet sinister wellness clinic in the Swiss Alps. Not all is what it seems as he realizes there are hidden agendas with a mysterious and sinister history, pushing him further into paranoia
The film offers a uniquely macabre visual style with a solid first act, offering some disturbingly claustrophobic scares. By the second act, I lost interest as the film diminishes into predictable obscurity.
The narrative lacks in consistency and progression, never fully explaining things. At times, certain scenes became confusing, never sure which direction to take. It leads into an unforgiving final act, which chooses to take the easy way out rather than trying to be bold and truly inspiring. Ultimately, the film ran longer than it needed to be. I found myself wondering what this picture would have looked like had its concept been developed as a television series of even an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’.
The saving grace is in the performances. DeHaan acts in a convincing manner, carrying the full weight of the stress. Jason Isaacs stands out too. The set design is second to none while the cinematography is simply unique and stunning.
I found myself asking a lot of questions to which I got no answers. Verbinski’s movie is the sort of film that makes promises that it ultimately does not fulfill. It has the sort of style that wishes it maintained the same essence as anything made by David Lynch: it takes on too much at one time and gives up on itself halfway through, taking away the suspense and some of the mystery. It relies on blood and gore to get its final message across; its shock value is worthwhile, but mostly forgettable.
Unfortunately, the stunning cinematography and the solid acting are not enough to save a weak narrative which is unable to carry its own weight.