A Wall Street stockbroker, Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), is blackmailed into traveling to the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company’s CEO (Harry Groener) from a shady sanatorium. After a car accident strands him at the center, naturally he begins to suspect that not everything is as it seems. As he uncovers the deep, dark secrets of the sanatorium, Lockhart wonders if the cure that’s meant to save him, could also be killing him.
“A Cure for Wellness” is clearly rated “R.” However, the unabashed nudity and explicit sexual content still shocked me. I would like to warn potential viewers: there are places this film is not afraid to go.
Unfortunately, the term “plot holes” does not begin to describe this movie. Some of these holes were over-filled with information in an attempt to answer any questions the audience might have. A major plot hole that was important for the film to be successful in its story-telling was only dug deeper as time went on, and left the audience disappointed and missing a vital catharsis. In other words, there are only so many ways you can twist a backstory before it becomes a punchline in a film where no one’s laughing.
“A Cure for Wellness” utilized an interesting technique in character development. Instead of your typical flashbacks, elaborate speeches, and action scenes that inform viewers of just who a character is (I’m looking at you Lockhart), quite a bit of development is made simply through experience. Characters Hannah (Mia Goth) and Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs) appeared as powerful bursts to the movie’s plot, and they overshadowed any character that dared to share a scene with them. Hannah was the most interesting character, with her blue dresses and child-like demeanor.
The setting and visuals of the film were the truly successful aspects. The sanatorium combined creepy hospital with mysterious insane asylum and surrounded it with beautiful mountain scenery that left you breathless (if it wasn’t the scenery, then it was the horrifying dental visit). In addition, the muted color palatte, filled with whites, off-whites, beige, and grays, added a coolness that increased the creepy atmosphere.
Sound effects were also effective in the film; Hannah’s spooky but catchy tune became somewhat of a theme song, and Lockhart’s incessant squeaking and stomping of his crutches kept the audience uneasy.
Honestly, I could not give this movie a rating. I’m still left wondering if the movie was really bad and I don’t want to believe it, or if it was well done and I’m not smart enough to understand. Perhaps, I need a second opinion, then maybe someone can explain to me why, of all things on this earth, the film used eels. I’ll never see the slimy, water snakes the same way again.