Depending on where you live, this winter may have been unseasonably sunny and warm or snowy, dreary and cold. In either case, it looks as though things are about to get a whole lot bleaker.
From director Gore Verbinski comes the oddly anachronistic ‘A Cure For Wellness’, starring the always mesmerizing Dane DeHaan (a.k.a. Harry Osborne, the one GOOD part of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’). The clips from the movie seem as though they take place in the early half of the twentieth century, but then there’s someone with a smartphone in a room with a big flatscreen TV. But that may be part of some odd ‘Wizard of Oz’ analogy.
Check out the film’s synopsis to get an idea of what to expect:
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.
DeHaan plays Mr. Lockhart, the “young executive” in question. Even though this film is shrouded in mystery, we do know the cast is filled out by Mia Goth as Hannah, a mysterious patient at the facility, Jason Isaacs as Volmer, the facility’s director, Adrian Schiller as Deputy Director, Ashok Mandanna as Ron Nair, Godehard Giese as Prim Technician, Tomas Norström as Franc Hill, Johnny Otto as Doctor Barlock, Judith Hoersch as Nurse Greta and a bunch of actors whose characters’ names are unknown or are vague descriptions like Wedding Guest or Threatening Attendant.
Two trailers have been released, plus a brand new clip from the movie featuring Mr. Lockhart having a mysterious encounter with Volmer.
Yeah, okay so that made NO sense but damn wasn’t it beautiful! It was like every amazing 90s music video rolled into one! The clip does refer to Gore Verbinski as a “Visionary Director” after all. (I’ll come back to this in a bit.)
Luckily, the second trailer offers a bit more coherence and a better understanding of the story.
So now it makes a BIT more sense. The head of this company, Mr. Pembrook was sent away to this “wellness center” and Lockhart goes to fetch him, but may never get the chance to. (Just FYI, there is no one listed as playing Pembrook on IMDB, so… this may be a futile mission.) There is a tease that some proto form of nano-virus is involved, but for what reason? Mind control?
But back to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ idea, at the beginning of the trailer, Lockhart is in a modern metropolis, with the previously mentioned smartphones and flatscreens. Then when he goes to find his boss, it’s as if he journeys back in time by almost a hundred years. But unlike ‘Oz’ this world stays the same drab sepia tone. And it’s actually worse than where he came from.
Finally, here is an actual clip from the movie:
Unfortunately, the one thing I kept thinking while watching these clips was Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’, a stunning visual experience which was a huge pile of crap as an actual movie.
And unfortunately, Verbinski’s track record doesn’t fill me with confidence. He’s directed three ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. I know they have their fans, but I find them formulaic and dumb. (Not that I’ve seen all of them… or even all of any of the ones I’ve tried to watch, now that I think about it.) The biggest blight on his record has to be one of the biggest financial flops in years ‘The Lone Ranger’. It says something that the ads only credit him as the director of ‘The Ring’, his first low-budget hit that came out way back in 2002 before these larger scale entries.
But that’s just my take. What do you think?