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A Cure for Wellness (2016)


Duration 2h 26m Rating (UK) 18
Source of story A more or less original screenplay apparently inspired by Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain”.
Director Gore Verbinski
Writers/Script Justin Haythe
Starring Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Celia Imrie, Harry Groener

Elevator Pitch: Lockhart, a young executive in a financial service company is sent to recover Pembroke, the CEO who has disappeared into a health clinic in the Swiss Alps, leaving the company in disarray. He arrives but finds the staff unhelpful, but when returning down the mountain, the car is hit by a deer and summersaults into the undergrowth. Lockart wakes up in the centre with his leg in plaster. He has become a patient. As time passes he is subject to distressing interventions by Dr Vomer, the sinister head of the centre, eventually meeting Pembroke, as well as Hannah an etherial young woman, with whom he may or may not be bonding.

Content: Well! There is nudity. In one case one of the female staff partially strips to stimulate one of the male staff, and more but that would be a spoiler. There are many scenes involving eels, one with Hahhah in the bath, surely just for the poster, but they appear elsewhere in various unsettling ways. Lockhart limps about on crutches for most of the film, gradually probing deeper into the strange structures, caves and laboratories of the centre. He has his teeth drilled (unpleasant) sees a cow cut open revealing a dead foetus and lots of eels (very unpleasant) and talks to the residents, none of whom show any sign of leaving.

A View: There is a lot of gratuitous scene setting and some events take place just for the aesthetic of the photography. The building is fantastic and the scenery wonderful, even if the plot is a bit dodgy. It only got 42% on Rotten Tomatoes but those who liked it were fascinated by its truly mesmeric qualities. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian says “Cult status beckons”. I liked it and it could be for you, particularly if you liked Hannah in the bath with all those eels.

Additional Info: The building where the action takes place, an old tuberculosis clinic in Germany,  was renovated, involving 750 new windows 350 doors and 1200 m2 of walls.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



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