A Cure For Wellness Review – A Trippy, Sci-Fi, Mind-Bending,Thrill Ride

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A Cure For Wellness, from TSG Entertainment and 20th Century Fox, presents a mind-bending story of the power of folklore, mystery, health and the lengths people travel to stop the clock, to secure longevity, to escape, to find Zen.

Co-written and directed by Gore Vebinski, A Cure For Wellness stars Jason Volmer, Dana DeHaan, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie, Adrian Schiller, Carl Lumbly, Harry Groener, Magnus Krepper, Judith Hoersch, Lisa Banes, Rebecca Street, Craig Wroe,  Ivo Nandi and was written by Justin Haythe and Verbinski.

A Cure for Wellness opens in New York, late night or early morning, in finance its all the same, with a single trader Morris, played by Craig Wroe, grinding away, trading in markets across the world, when the inevitable strikes and as day breaks on Wall Street Morris is just another causality to the fast track.

With Morris dead, the board is left with a pending merger, a young ambitious executive, Lockhart, played by Dane DeHaan, who is fast tracking on a train somewhere when he gets the call that takes him to the boardroom. The youngest and apparently most deserving to receive partnership.

Lockhart reads the letter the board has received from Mr. Pembroke, the CEO, who after taking a wellness break and traveling to a healing Spa in the Swiss Alps, has decided to stay, finding what he describes, in the letter, as nirvana.

The merger precludes any warm and fuzzy feelings Pembroke might be having while under the delusion of the altitude and with the rat race in the rear view, life seems idyllic.

The board sends Lockhart to Switzerland to retrieve Pembroke and bring him back to New York City to complete the merger. One would think it would be an easy task. By the next morning Lockhart, young, naive, drunk on his own power and making equally inebriated decisions, barrels into the well-manicured and well-kept Spa, where whited robed former executives, the power echelon of the worlds corporations are lounging, playing badminton, croquet, and other leisurely activities while waiting for the next treatment.

Arriving at 3:10PM, he finds that the visiting hours end at 3:00PM, and neither tactic, charming or power play, sways the step-ford nurse who simply asks for his signature on the document, which he obliges, without reading.

Deciding the brick wall to Pembroke needed a huddle with Wall Street he jumps into the waiting car, driven by the only livery operator in town, Enrico, played by Ivo Nandi.

What follows is graphically the most stunning special effect car crash to hit the screen in sometime, as a six-point Buck, jumps out in front on the Mercedes, getting his antler stuck in the windshield, the deer is bucking and trying to extradite himself from the car, while the driver is trying to control the vehicle, which is already traveling at high speed, when he loses control and the car launches and completes at least six somersaults, a flip, side over side, roll. It is graphically shocking and the camera pans the road where the buck pulling part of the Benz windshield molding is limping to the center of the road where he convulses and dies.

While we are left wondering, for a moment, did they survive, the camera pans the face of Lockhart, now a crash victim, with a severe broken femur, “a clean break” we are told by the Spa director, Volmer, played by Jason Isaacs.

With our young executive undeterred by his injuries and the merger on track, he decides to find Pembroke on his own and soon he is hobbling around the spa trying to find the elusive executive who hold the keys to the firm’s secrets and the ability to stay any execution order by Federal Regulators.

What follows is one sci-fi bending trip as Gore Virbinski travels into the mind of the health crazed longevity obsessed culture into financial windfall and cult devotion.

A Cure For Wellness is one shocking treatment after another, as the limits of devotion to a belief and more so believing the creed, folklore, mystery of the soothsayer, the charlatan who speaks with snake-charming skills brainwashing the most intelligent, which like a domino effect acts as a reputation reference to the next equally intelligent.

Jason Isaacs charms as the good doctor, the spa director who longs only for the well-being of his clients, who sign in on their own accord and are willing to go the distance to allow themselves to be put under his spell, agreeing to freak treatments all in the name of health, happiness and zen.

Dane DeHaan, who carries the majority of the film, becomes by default an immersive investigator, and handles the freaky, are they or aren’t they, hallucinations as anyone who is still in control of his right mind would. I joined him in his reactions, as he projects trapped and unable to escape with dramatic authenticity.

Granted with a film of 140 minutes, the necessity of all scenes becomes questioned and I do have to admit a single scene, at the end, could have been removed and the strength of the film would have remained as the point is to expose the truth about the leadership running this for-profit, wellness spa that is in reality conducting absurd medical experiments, bordering on those conducted in Nazi Germany, and keeping the final hostage scene detracts from the film.

The cinematography is equally stunning as the film is set in the Swiss Alps and the mountains are gorgeous.

A Cure For Wellness has a strong supporting cast of talent who are recognizable and add strength to the story-line. The entire cast brings the story, which could have been a messy hodgepodge of great ideas together to one strong edge of the seat, cohesive, sci-fi, thrill ride.

A Cure For Wellness is a stand out film, shocking, graphic special effects, a gripping, explosive journey.

A Cure For Wellness opens February 17, 2016. See it.

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