Monday, 27 February 2017
REVIEW: A CURE FOR WELLNESS
146 Minutes. Starring: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth & Jason Isaacs. Director: Gore Verbinski.
Well, well, well. What do we have here? A shockingly cinematic horror. Terrifyingly more psychological than physical. Something that messes with your mind like Leonardo DiCaprio's 'Shutter Island', but treats it's patients warm bodies more than their cold brains. What in turn makes for quite a trip to the beautiful Swiss Alps that will leave your ears ringing 'till an ugly din. Close your eyes and mouth, hold your nose and breathe out until they POP! Because your head just may explode. Now exhale...relax if you can. Because this health spa is anything but a light vacation break. This is one retreat you just want to get away from. But no one ever leaves here. Sound familiar? Horrible? Creeping under your skin like a crawling virus, internal like bleeding? 'A Cure For Wellness'. It almost sounds ironic. It is...and borderline iconic. Not to mention psychotic. As this modern horror classic has all the trappings of an enclosure of claustraphobia that will even haunt your nightmares. And don't daydream through this one that on the surface looks like a picture postcard before you descend to the dark depth steps. Because this one will play tricks on your cerebellum. If you were afraid of the docs than you really are going to be now. And as for dentists, here's one procedure that will make you want to cancel your next appointment...for the next ten years. You'll just have had to have you fill on candy. Because this nothing sweet in this sinister picture that bores into you like a slow burn, no itching boredom. What more could you expect from a film that stars the great Dane DeHaan? A renaissance young man that from 'The Place Beyond The Pines' stirring score to the lonely 'Life' of Hollywood icon James Dean has haunted us with no end. Not to mention making Spider-Man's 'Amazing' nemesis the Green Goblin actually scarily ghasty. All after showing us some enhanced individuals aren't really superheroes in his no capes, no responsibility 'Chronicle' of power. But this leech is the apex predator.
What more do you expect when this horror film features names like Gore and Goth? From visionary 'The Ring' director Verbinski who knows how to scare you with just a videotape and a well no one would wish for. And rising fatal femme Mia Goth who haunts every scene she steals away with. Well...there you have it. Or do you? As there's more to this 'Wellness' than meets the screen shielded, scared eye. Because this is no haunted house. This institution is an asylum. Switzerland has never looked this scenic...or scary. As DeHaan's character travels here from the cold, steel suicide structures of Wall Street, New York to bring a business partners signature back. But has the key board member to the deal of his young companies lives gone off the dotted line? Has anyone who finds themselves inked in this mansion in the mountains with it's own young princess Rapunzel high in the castle just wishing she could let her hair down? A sterile, surgically precise place that is as cool and clinical as the classic cinematogtaphy here that should have found itself in its own Academy this weekend off. A place as potent as the pippette's that everyone takes twice a day. A blue vial choice as hallmark influenced identifying as that barb wire scratch on the back of the neck of those old 'War Of The Worlds' alienated humans. This old medical centre looking sanitorium has bespoke shades of 'Shutter Island'. Setting like in story. But there's much more that roams these halls than delirious patients and men in white coats. Getting right down to the cold metal of the set of surgical tools and all the therapies implemented and medicines admitted, there is a purification procedure and process that will leave you submerged in all sorts of tanks here. From glass display fish ones to submarine wheel locked chambers that come with a Pavlov cruel electric shock to the system. And what's with all those slimy creatures? There's more eels here than that 90's band that went to 'Susan's House'...are you sure you want to be alone tonight?
Because 'In Treatment' breakout star Dane DeHaan doesn't...but it's not like he has a choice in the matter. Still against his will, making his way through all these corridors the man that stole the show from Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce and Jessica Chastain in 'Lawless' (not to mention Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in 'Pines') shows he can lead a big budget film all on his own. Who else but the man that played a real 'Rebel Without A Cause'? And we'd follow the next young, great actor anywhere. Even through those doors marked 'Keep Out' that we scream at him behind our proverbial couches not to take us through. Yet still we can't stop too. His curiosity of character kills it. As ones again he nails the anxious passion and aggravated isolation like a hammer to the head as the tension turns like a vice grip he holds. When we first meet this Dane he's on a train bound for a deadline. Riding passenger with the tray table down is an assortment of mini-bar bottles, bags of sweets and potato chips and a patchwork of nicotine gum all in a Friday night in on your own, mini-coffee table mess. But his company heres a laptop of work and an iPhone that seems like he's having Siri try to find him the most insulting curse word. And in his suit and unsmart, loosened tie don't ask him the obvious, "business or pleasure" small-talk. His teenage-angst exhale already told you it was enough to ask him for his ticket like any other passenger. The young mans a mess. No professional. At least he puts the phone down business slick, such is the nature of his work. But this cool acting pro has a way of setting scene and character. And you'll stay with his deplorable one all the way to you see the heart of the real man that sold his soul for Fortune 500. The real DeHaan that comes out of all his characters genuine streaks. And as he goes from boys blazer to what may aswell be a straight jacket issue this actor/character is so complex he could almost even do this all on his own. But like he has the chance to. Magazine cover facade charming Jason Isaac's is running this show and spa and the former 'Harry Potter' bread and butter actor who was a force in his fast 'Fury' cameo is even more ferociously coherent here with more spotlight shine. And how about Mia Goth? Haunting all of her moments in this gothic psycho-horror. The off-screen beau to LeBeouf, DeHaan's 'Lawless' co-star may just be the next Mia Wasikowska...another 'Lawless' LaBeouf love interest. And here the Amish princess dressed Goth eloquently engrosses everyone, with equal mystery and intrigue. This weird wonder like DeHaan is a star of the future. And makes this picture perfectly peculiar. Even if Verbinski's vision that sets sail with saavy Sparrow eyes for aesthetics aboard the 'Pirates Of The Carribean' is rated R for raw. This atmospheric disturbia of acclaim takes a final fall in the third acts deeply dark and disgusting finale that makes all the terror that came before look tame. And yet this ending seems a little tacked on too in order to leave it on an island all on its own away from 'Shutter'. That aforementioned aside we still have the makings of a cult classic from the makings of the next great actor doing very well indeed. But with all this sickness and disease screened, when it comes to your recovery, can you take the cure? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Shutter Island', 'Crimson Peak', 'Under The Skin'.