Entertainment » Reviews

A Cure for Wellness

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Feb 17, 2017
Dane DeHaan stars in 'A Cure for Wellness'
Dane DeHaan stars in 'A Cure for Wellness'  

"A Cure for Wellness" reunites Gore Verbinski (known mainly for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy) with screenwriter Justin Haythe, with whom he made the ill-fated "The Lone Ranger" -- a film that actually got nominated for four Razzie Awards. That flop is a far cry from this suspenseful outing, in which the duo show that they are back in form again.

The movie is something of a business noir: The only thing in the way of an essential Wall Street merger is the agreement and signature of the company's CEO, but the trouble is he has up and taken himself off to a mysterious Swiss Wellness Center from which he is refusing to leave. The frustrated board of directors, who desperately need the deal to go through to cover up some of their dubious business practices, instruct Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), an overly ambitious young executive, to go to Switzerland and bring him back.

When Lockhart reaches the spa, which is located in a remote part of the Swiss Alps, he is refused access to the CEO and told to come back in the evening. However, on the way down the mountain again to the nearby town, his car is involved in a near-fatal accident, and the next thing Lockhart knows he is waking up in Wellness Center three days later, missing a leg. Volmer (an excellent Jason Isaacs), the rather smarmy clinic director says he will do everything to facilitate Lockhart meeting up with the elusive CEO, but in fact he just keeps stalling, leaving the young man to wander around the grounds to mark time.

Already wary of all the staff's obstructive habits, Lockhart starts to suspect that this is no ordinary spa; the miraculous treatments are hardly cures at all, he discovers, when it turns out that no one ever leaves. His suspicions gradually build until he eventually discovers they are all part of some dastardly experiments that have been going on for the past two hundred years. The more he unravels, the more his own sanity is tested, as he slowly realizes that he is now suffering from the same illness that has kept all the others virtual prisoners for years.

Verbinski keeps the suspense level high, interspersed with some outrageously scary and violent episodes right up to the bitter end. Even when its twisted plot drags a little (the movie is way too long at 2 hrs. 26 mins.), the stunning cinematography (by Bojan Bazelli) still makes the movie a real visual treat.

Baby-faced De Haan, who became an actor to watch closely after his remarkable breakthrough performance in "Kill Your Darlings," holds the central focus well, and is pitch perfect as the conflicted and frustrated Lockhart.

A Cure for Wellness

A Wall Street stockbroker (Dane DeHaan) travels to a remote location in the Swiss Alps to retrieve his company's CEO (Harry Groener) from an idyllic but mysterious wellness center. He soon suspects that the miraculous treatments are not what they seem. His sanity is tested when he unravels the spa's terrifying secrets and finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all of the guests there longing for a cure.


Runtime :: 146 mins
Release Date :: Feb 17, 2017
Language :: Silent
Country :: Germany


Lockhart :: Dane DeHaan
Dr. Volmer :: Jason Isaacs
Hannah :: Mia Goth
Mrs. Watkins :: Celia Imrie
Deputy Director :: Adrian Schiller
Pembroke :: Harry Groener
Caretaker :: Johannes Krisch
Pieter the Vet :: Magnus Krepper
Wilson :: Carl Lumbly
Hollis :: Lisa Banes
Enrico :: Ivo Nandi
Carl :: Jason Babinsky
Josh :: Eric Todd
Frank Hill :: Tomas Norström
Morris :: Craig Wroe
Ron Nair :: Ashok Mandanna
Humphrey :: Tom Flynn


Director :: Gore Verbinski
Screenwriter :: Justin Haythe
Producer :: Arnon Milchan
Producer :: Gore Verbinski
Producer :: David Crockett
Executive Producer :: Justin Haythe
Executive Producer :: Morgan Des Groseillers
Cinematographer :: Bojan Bazelli
Film Editor :: Lance Pereira
Film Editor :: Pete Beaudreau
Original Music :: Benjamin Wallfisch
Production Design :: Eve Stewart
Costume Designer :: Jenny Beavan
Casting :: Denise Chamian

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.


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