A Cure for Wellness is very, very strange.
Sure, it’s occasionally stunningly beautiful and meticulously designed, but it is one hell of a mind trip.
The story follows up-and-coming Wall Street type Lockhart, sent by his bosses on a mission to Switzerland to retrieve their company’s chief executive, Pembroke.
Pembroke, it seemed, had taken a crazy turn and checked himself into a Swiss sanitarium to cure his “sickness”.
When Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, Chronicle, In Treatment) arrives at the wellness centre it soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems.
A further strange event leaves the frustrated executive effectively trapped at the centre – which operates from an historic castle atop a mountain – and at the mercy of its far-too-pleasant staff.
With brown walls and green surfaces, the sanitarium is like something straight out of the ’60s or ’70s.
There’s not a sleek or shiny floor to be found, no glittering chrome to orient the mind in a modern medical facility.
Everything is outdated and unsettling, including the staff.
There is layer upon layer of mystery and intrigue in A Cure for Wellness and the audience is treated to frustratingly few answers.
The film also goes on for far too long.
When it feels like it’s finally starting to wrap up and the end credits could be rolling at any second, there’s at least another half an hour of confusion and conspiracy to go.
While it deserves praise for daring to run with an original idea, A Cure for Wellness doesn’t work as an overall package.
It’s just too weird, there’s nothing for the audience to relate to, no characters for them to truly care about.
Lockhart, despite being the protagonist, is arrogant and entitled – not somebody viewers want to cheer for.
If not for the gorgeous ‘Swiss’ scenery (which was actually filmed in Germany) and beautiful castle architecture, the film would be close to unwatchable.
One has to wonder what director Gore Verbinski – responsible for the first three fun, light-hearted Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the chipper animated Oscar-winner Rango – saw in this dark, paranoid film which has no fun at all.