Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Cure For Wellness Film Review

Fancy a stay at a Swiss health spa? Yes please. So I signed up and saw the stylish horror, A Cure For Wellness. Directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski. Suspended in a gothic nightmare it has an 18 certificate and stars Dane DeHaan. An interesting actor who plays Valerian in this year's Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets.

Dane's Lockhart, a young suit in the financial markets, is elevated to a corner office, when colleague Morris; burning the midnight oil late one night, suffers a heart attack and dies. Now he's supping at the top table. And his first job is to bring back the company CEO from his stay at a luxury, and exclusive, health clinic. He wrote to say he loves it so much he's not coming back. But unfortunately some irregularities have taken place at the financial firm. And someone needs to take the fall.

In a tender flashback we meet Lockhart's mother in a care home. She designs and paints pretty little ballerina music boxes. Her latest one is dancing asleep. But doesn't know she's asleep.

After a long flight and train journey, Lockhart is driven to the clinic in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Passing through the local village the residents egg the car. Driver Enrico, played by Ivo Nandi, explains that they do not like the clinic. The castle in which it is based has a dark and chilling history.

Unfortunately Lockhart is a few minutes too late for visiting hours. And the officious nurse receptionist tells him that rules are rules. After making a fuss he signs in, and is taken to the clinic deputy director. Played by chilling Adrian Schiller. Who suggests he can come back later to speak to his CEO Pembroke.

Lockhart is considerably younger than the clients he sees at the clinic. Totally carefree; playing croquet, badminton and flying kites. Generally having a ball in their cosy white bathrobes and slides. But he spies an odd young girl standing on the ramparts as they drive away.

A violent car crash sees him wake up back at the clinic with a broken leg. He meets Dr. Heinreich Volmer. The clinic director, and played by the lovely villain Jason Isaacs. Being an unhealthy finance man, he is persuaded to partake of the clinic's facilities while his leg heals. And to make sure he keeps refreshed at the altitude by drinking the pure water from the natural aquifer the castle is built on. His firm have been made aware of the accident and he just has to sit back and relax. Of course Lockhart sets off to find Pembroke.

Treatments are organised daily for the happy residents. The wonderful Celia Imrie playing one such resident. An amateur historian she suggests that something is wrong here. No kidding. No one ever leaves.

If you like your treatments on the fishy side. And have a high pain barrier. Then A Cure For Wellness is the clinic for you. But if you don't enjoy that nightmare where your teeth fall out. And you prefer your dental treatment after a mouth numbing injection first. Then A Cure For Wellness is maybe not one for your bucket list.

To be honest it wasn't difficult to guess the big ending, with so many arrows pointing the way. But the route it took to get there was unusually eccentric. And I did have questions about the young girl Hannah. And her potential for a life outside the clinic. At 146 minutes long it kept me interested throughout though. And I thought it was a good left-of-centre horror in the manner of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.

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