‘A Cure for Wellness’ was one of those rare films that I didn’t know too much about before seeing it. The posters gave very little away and there weren’t many trailers shown. With original stories especially I love knowing as little as possible. Therefore I was really looking forward to this movie. My anticipation was only heightened with reports of it being seriously messed up and it receiving some very strong words of criticism against it.
For those who would like to know a little more about the film here is a brief plot synopsis. Dane DeHaan stars as a young business executive who is sent by the company he works for to retrieve the CEO who has been staying at a healthcare facility at the base of the Swiss Alps. Of course all is not as it seems and very quickly a chilling mystery thriller develops.
This narrative was intriguing from the very first moment and almost completely throughout the film. The story is very creepy, it gives off ‘Shutter Island’ vibes at almost every turn. There is a great tension present for the entirety of the film. This kept me suitably gripped and made sure that the run time of just under two and a half hours never once became a problem. The story simultaneously works as mystery and a thriller but is definitely more suited to the latter. The narrative is painfully obvious in some respects but then is far more complicated in others. Any seasoned movie buff should work out the overall narrative rather quickly but it’s in the intricate details of the plot where the story becomes confused but also more interesting. It’s a shame that the final act of the film just can’t deliver against the confident build up. The payoff here just isn’t as engaging as the rest of the film. Furthermore this section of the film takes its extreme plot to the next level including some very dark and sensitive content. Some audience members will find this too much, if not already wholly disturbed. Understandably so though as scenes like these are always hard to process.
Plot aside, there are several other elements of the film to appreciate. The cinematography is often beautiful here. It makes the most of it’s scenic setting creating some very memorable visuals. Frequently combined with the effective score, in particular one repeated theme, these elements fuse together spawning an appropriate atmosphere of unease and suspense.
As already mentioned actor Dane DeHaan stars as the main character amidst all these mysterious antics. DeHaan is a good lead making himself believable in his role. No doubt an unlikable human being if we were to see him in his usual work environment but in the context of this narrative it’s very easy to back his character. Alongside DeHaan the cast features an array of different performers; Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth & Celia Imrie. They each perform well in their respective roles adding to the mystery of the whole picture. Imrie’s character could have been developed slightly more and given more attention. It was a treat to see Imrie in a more dramatic role and a more fleshed out character would only have enhanced this further.
‘A Cure for Wellness’ contains the type of narrative that will alienate a lot of viewers. It’s often extreme in its content. This type of film has a different kind of effect on me, often making me transfixed on what I’m watching. The film has a wonderful level of tension which kept me effortlessly involved. However, it’s the final act of the film which lets the rest down, the payoff just is never as good as the build up. It’s this problem that will prevent rewatches in the future. This is very unfortunate though as everything else about the film is disturbingly brilliant.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What is your favourite Dane DeHaan role?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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