Tuesday, 07 February 2017 00:00

A Cure for Wellness Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

A Cure for Wellness

20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises, New Regency Productions, Studio Babelsberg and TSG Entertainment present an R rated, 146 minute, Mystery, Thriller, directed by Gore Verbinski, screenplay and story by Justin Haythe with a theater release date of February 17, 2017.


Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is an ambitious businessman at his company and after a top sales associate who worked all the time died in his office of a heart attack Lockhart moves into a corner office thanks to a huge sales initiative. Not too long after enjoying the view Lockhart gets pulled into a board meeting finding out that he is exposed for some shady dealings and the SEC is hot on his butt as well as that of the company and it board members. The head of the company Mr. Green needs Lockhart to go to Switzerland find the owner of their company Mr. Pembroke and bring him back to the U.S. so that a pending merger of their company can proceed before they lose everything.

When Lockhart arrives in Switzerland he is taken up the mountain via car by his driver Enrico (Ivo Nandi). A winding road surrounded by beautiful landscapes they drive through the village where the residents are not very fond of the people in the castle atop the mountain. As Lockhart enters the castle grounds once again the scenery is breath-taking and the people on the grounds seem happy, dancing, playing games, exercising and some playing cards on the front porch of the facility. It seems that the people staying there are there for one reason and that is the cure for their illness. Humans are so consumed with power, achievement, greed, back-stabbing mindless cut throats that will stop at nothing to succeed in life but at this facility they only learn to want one thing and that is the cure and since they are there willingly its all the better.

At first for Lockhart everything looked normal, a pleasant place for people to rest and get well but as he started to meet the staff things started to seem odd especially when he needed to find Pembroke and get on the next flight out of the Swiss Alps. Later he meets Volmer (Jason Isaacs) the owner of the facility who guarantees Lockhart he will have Pembroke ready by seven. There is no phone reception up there so Lockhart decided to have Enrico drive him to town. As they leave Lockhart notices a young girl atop the castle walls and not to soon thereafter gets into a violent crash while hitting a deer. The special effects and the photography and graphic scenery of the car crash and the deer as it took its last breath were brilliant yet devastatingly traumatic. As for Lockhart he now finds himself a patient with a cast on one leg not able to leave the place he was so anxiously wanting out of. It gave him time though to find Pembroke and have a conversation about the company, the same company that Pembroke was tired of and had no need to return to but rather stay at the facility and continue to be cured.

Strange happenings are going on at this wellness facility and Lockhart is determined to find out the truth. After speaking with Hannah (Mia Goth) the girl that was on the castle wall earlier he discovers the mystery of the facility is even deeper than he thought. It is one of the patients (Celia Imrie) that tell the story of a man that lived in the castle many years ago that was experimenting on humans for a cure but the question is a cure for what. Obviously the man is dead since no one could live for hundreds of years! Still there is something going on and Lockhart is determined to find out what. He notices an old cellar on the grounds that he hears noises from but it is heavily locked that is until he sees a caretaker going in and out and not empty handed. What is in that cellar? Who exactly is this young sixteen year old girl Hannah? Where is Mr. Pembroke and why can’t he visit him? Lockhart searches for answers but what he finds are more questions and danger around every corner. There is something happening here at this wellness facility but when the truth comes out after some very torturous moments Lockhart never could have fathomed the answer to all his questions. A number of eels later and a full smile along with a repeat of history Lockhart has found the meaning of life and the answers to all his questions. Interesting though as a movie audience watches on, the big question is, did we find out the answers as well. I think so!

The film is one big mystery with some thrilling moments that have you guessing on what the heck is going on and what is behind that door, or in that room, or down those steps and what the heck are those eels for let alone those blue bottles of liquid. The director does a nice job of keeping the audience intrigued and even though the story seems to have several holes along with some editing errors I have to say I was absolutely enthralled with this story. The writing is good even though it does have some unanswered moments, the score is justly done and the cinematography is superb, probably one of the best things about the film. I must say even the German accents were at times a little spine tingling or it could have just been the moment. Oddly enough I thought I would love or hate this film and even though several other movie goers hated it there was something about it that I found to be suspenseful, thrilling and mysterious enough to keep my attention the entire 146 minutes. That with the twists from time to time either made me slightly confused as if in a dream or intrigued as in wanting to know the truth myself but albeit I likes it.

DeHaan was superb in this role. He actually at times reminded me of a young Leo DiCaprio who I like very much as an actor. DeHaan definitely had no problem carrying this story from start to finish no matter what the writers or director threw at him. Isaacs was a mystery from the start but pulls it all together as the dashing and suave owner of the wellness facility who knows how to keep a secret until the right bloody time. Goth was the quiet one that was not sure why she was there and neither was I but that too comes together at the end. I must say in the end she really had to film some very disturbing scenes. These three along with a great supporting cast and a number of extras really help to take the audience on a journey for wellness in a search of a cure.

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