A Cure For Wellness
Are you here for the cure?
There's a sickness living inside us all. A malady so commonplace you wouldn't even recognize it staring back at you in the mirror. What if the human condition itself were just that....a condition. From the visionary director of The Ring, Gore Verbinski, comes a twisted tale centered around the twisted hearts of men. A Cure For Wellness follows your stereotypical yuppie scum exec type (Dane DeHaan) as he travels to a eerily secluded health retreat in the Swiss Alps. In his search for a work colleague who refuses to go back to the cut throat capitalism which DeHaan's character embodies, he finds himself drawn into a deeper mystery....finding the cure. The visual style alone is what sets this film apart from the homogenized Hollywood "spooky movie" you may be accustomed to. The grand scale and barrage of imagery itself lends to the story a certain isolation that's not just about setting and space, but one of mind. Prepare to have your sanity tested as he enters a world where vitality is God and disease is your only savior.
"Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease...because only then is there hope for a cure."
With every twist and turn comes a layer of story upon layer of backstory. Some are obvious, some implied. I've watched it three times now (in varying degrees of drunkenness) only to be taken aback each time by something I missed. I don't want to directly compare it to Shutter Island. While they're very different films, they do share a very similar feel as the lines of reality are blurred. Not so much a 'who done it' but more so a 'what the fuck is going on.' A confusion takes hold, spurred on by an almost fetishized display of medical tortures. Teeth drilled and removed without anesthesia, sensory deprivation tanks from Hell and then the dreaded transfusion of having septic eels fill your bowels through a force feeding tube rammed down your throat. Some say torture, others say treatment. How far are you willing to go to find the cure?
This movie is what it is. You'll either love it or hate it but either way you won't get it. While some conclusions are obvious, others are far, far more elusive and that's probably why I'll watch it for the fourth time tonight. I am a little disappointed in the blueray because there's no director/actor commentary or making of featurette. Now I realize this a very deliberate and downright diabolical act. They don't want to help you understand the story, they don't want you to get it. The element of confusion is a vital component of the plot. This film's very intention is to make your cheese slide off its cracker....and it just might.
Review by The Great Beludini