A CURE FOR WELLNESS: Gore Verbinski Doesn’t Know The Cure
With an interesting premise & gorgeous visuals, A Cure For Wellness sadly gets bogged down by its 130 minute runtime and poor story delivery.
Having a fond interest for asylums and psychology, A Cure For Wellness seemed to be eyeing me in a dark corner. On one hand, I wanted to be slowly intrigued by what’s put on screen. I wanted to know what the cure was. Yet, Gore Verbinski tricks you (much like this movies’ fake campaign) into thinking you’ve got the cure when in reality you’re not even close. A Cure For Wellness is a mystery that’s too long for its own good.
A stockbroker (Dane DeHaan) is sent to a psychiatric facility to get the company’s CEO (Harry Groener). On his arrival, everything seems odd and misplaced. When he wants to leave, his car hits a deer which brings him back to the mysterious wellness center. He soon finds himself losing his sanity, and the cause may lie in the very center that’s trying to heal him.
From a visual standpoint, the movie is flawless. Gore Verbinski takes pleasure in stimulating his audiences’ eyes with beautiful Swiss Alps scenery or with plays on colors inside the facility. His eye for detail is impressive while his style is pleasing. Cinematographer Bojan Bazelli knows how to make even the dullest looking color schemes come to life. He works with a lot of pale greens and cherry reds to make a rather inviting looking facility while still maintaining the uncertainty. Both men took the world’s dullest color set and created stunning visuals.
Dane DeHaan and Mia Goth both aesthetically fit in the world as well. Their mundane acting styles are perfect for the clever dull surrounding. The audience never knows if it’s the patients or the workers who are crazy. Everyone strips their acting down to the simplest emotions perfectly complementing the world’s broader design. However, that mystery is quickly diluted by the movie’s overly long run time. Verbinski‘s initial mystery is suffocated by other less interesting storylines.
Dull Story, Dull Scares
While the dullness works visually, it definitely doesn’t work story-wise; A Cure For Wellness‘ twisty story fails to match its impressive visuals. Much of it is due to Verbinski’s emphasis on style and twists. Verbinski draws the route to his various twists too early; it’s easy for the viewers to fill in the missing pieces when too many pieces are already given early on. This pandering to the audience feels like the director isn’t confident in his story delivery.
Eventually, A Cure For Wellness becomes what you would expect from this kind of movie – it becomes disturbing. However, Verbinski never truly earns these scenes. Instead, it feels more like a quick scare in an otherwise unscary movie. It tries to shock you to force a last hoorah before the film ends. The director is never able to create a consistent unhinged feeling. He’s not even able to create a sense of dread as he did so perfectly in The Ring. It just feels all too dull.
Our Obsession Towards Life
If anything, A Cure For Wellness speaks to the pharmaceutical craze and our obsession with living longer. Our society is constantly creating medicine that will help us live longer and the movie takes this idea and turns it around. What if pharmaceuticals are creating diseases for the cure? With a disease-ridden world, pharmaceuticals are able to cash in on our fear of death.
The same can be said for our undeniable need to live longer. We value our lives more than others’ lives and we always fail to accept death. We try to delay it with our constant reliance on machines or medicine to keep us alive. This may be the sickness that Verbinski keeps telling us is inside of us all. This obsession may be blurring our moral and ethical decisions more than we think.
The movie’s run time ultimately run these questions mute along with its story. When it finally gets to its twist, the audience will either have no interest or will have already predicted it. For a film to make us wait 130 minutes before revealing its twist only to be underwhelming has committed an unforgivable sin. Not to say that there isn’t an interesting story lying within A Cure For Wellness, Verbinski just chose not to tell it.
What are your thoughts on A Cure For Wellness?
A Cure For Wellness was released on February 17th in the US and February 24th in UK.
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