Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Strange Review: A Cure For Wellness

This is one of those movies that I was looking forward to when I saw the previews. Wellness Spas doubling as a mental asylum? Hidden secrets? Ulterior motives?!  Dane DeHaan?! Sign me up! This appeared to be one of those "plot twist" movies...much like "Shutter Island" where you think one thing is going on only to discover another thing is going on. However, "Shutter Island" was great, "A Cure For Wellness" though...was not. For a non-spoiler review, I can say that the movie is shot well, well acted, looks amazing and that's about all there is though. While I give the film credit for being original, sadly, it's originality didn't do much to make it better.

"A Cure For Wellness" tells the story of Lockhart, an up and coming accounting firm guy who is blackmailed by his bosses to go to Switzerland to retrieve another member of the firm to take the fall for their mistake. While at this spa, Lockhart gets diagnosed with the same strange illness that plagues everyone at the wellness center. That's the basic story but there s a lot more to it than just that. Guys, I was incredibly disappointed by this movie and it's overall skippable in my opinion. If you want to know why and don't care about spoilers click after the break!

So if you're reading this you either saw "A Cure For Wellness" or don't care about spoilers, in either case welcome. So "A Cure For Wellness"...where did this movie go wrong? I'd say right about here;
The minute I saw this photo with the bandaged man. Actually a bit earlier than that when the story of The Baron & His Experiments were mentioned but I knew what was going on immediately when I saw the photo of the bandaged man. Let's be fair, the movie didn't play subtly with the hints at all about where the story was going and to be completely honest, it had every reason to play coy with it's actual story. Let me explain:

So the reality is The Baron discovered that The Water some how allows the eels to live longer than they usually do and discovers a way to filter the water through humans so he can ingest it and live longer himself. Therefore, by proxy he can make his daughter live longer so he can have sex with her thus keeping his family line pure...okay...

Jokes aside, incest is not uncommon in royal families during that time period but I digress, the point is the story of the Baron was sadly out of place in this film and should have been a backdrop, a red-herring, an old ghost story told by asylum inmates, a bit of cultural trivia. Instead it was the entire film and that's what made it entirely disjointed in my opinion mostly because there was really no need for it. Here's what I mean: The entire film The Baron was waiting for his daughter to become a woman so he could have sex with her, that's obvious, meanwhile The Baron also conducts longevity experiments on the people at his wellness center. But the sad fact is none of the people in the wellness center were getting better...they were getting worse and yet somehow failed to realize it and convinced themselves they were fine...not through constant drugging or anything medically obvious, just they suddenly decided they weren't well and made that perfectly clear when Lockhart tried to convince them.

Then suddenly Lockhart gives into the treatment and is convinced he's not well...how? After all the abuse he endured, having a perfectly good tooth drilled through. Why was Lockhart's indoctrination so minimal compared to everyone else? Why did everyone else act like zombies and mob Lockhart repeating "I'm not well.". The Baron showed no signs of using actual drugs or anything to convince people they weren't well, just poisonous water, and sure that could screw with your mind but come on. All that aside, the story basically boils down to one man's elaborate scheme to live forever so he could bone his daughter. That scheme is so elaborate that it makes very little sense considering if anyone suddenly pulled a Lockhart and realized what was going on, it'd be insanely easy to escape and stop them after a REAL doctor gave you a check up and realized you were ingesting poison.

I'm rambling but the movie ALMOST, ALMOST got interesting when The Baron said this: "Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease because only then is there hope for a cure.". This was a game changing statement and I thought this was The Baron's entire plan in reality, it was some longevity ponzi scheme where the only person benefiting from "The Treatment" was himself. In a sense he could continue to gain immortality while charging and drugging people into convincing them to remain at the center. That could have been incredible, IF and only IF, the initial story about The Baron was true minus all the incest stuff. If The Baron was convinced he could achieve immortality through science instead of spiritually, then after recognizing mankind's need to strive for perfection, he decided to make use of that.

After discovering the eels lived longer than usual and testing the water to discover it's properties, The Baron would then convince the people to drink the water, making them sick and then offer a cure for a sickness they'd only have if they continued drinking the water. That makes The Baron far more devious and his goals far more personal than merely wanting to bang his daughter. The actual story raises too many questions such as: is the entire staff in on what's really going on? During "The Wedding" scene it seemed like everyone was celebrating and was aware of what was taking place, but how, why? They were all taking the "vitamins" so I'm assuming they were his original staff? Maybe? What was up with the one dude jerking off? That just seemed to be creepy for creepy sake.

The movie never made me once question whether or not the doctor was up to something nefarious. Take "Shutter Island", there's an awesome scene when Edward Daniels is theorizing on what's really going on at the asylum and he starts suggesting they're brainwashing people or creating some sort of super soldiers, both theorizes when broken down sound completely compelling, check it out;

Do you see how much this makes you question what's really going on? I didn't feel the same amount of tension during this movie because The Baron ALWAYS seemed nefarious and the story laid out earlier in the film made that clear he was the bad guy. Which I believe they should have made us question it more.

This movie could have been much more amazing than what it actually was, a legit asylum movie where you question everything and it keeps you on your toes trying to figure out if what's really going is what's really going on. Maybe it's because I'm a writer but the second I heard the story about The Baron, saw the girl and saw the bandaged man, I knew exactly what was going on, that made the movie less enjoyable and the fact that The Baron's endgame didn't mash up with this actual methods. The experiments could have been done with or without the incest plot, therefore the incest plot was ultimately superfluous to the story. Anyway, that's just one guy's opinion, lemme know yours and I'll catch you guys later!

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