Day 1 – A Cure for Wellness (Happy New Year!)

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My trusty steed.

Movie Title: A Cure for Wellness

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. and 26 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

A Cure for Wellness is a flawed movie that I found to be captivating. The movie begins in a New York financial office where our main character Lockhart, played ably by Dane DeHaan, is sent on a mission to retrieve Pembroke, a partner in the firm, from a health resort in Switzerland. The company received a note, narrated in a Jigsaw-esque voice, that everyone at the firm believes indicates that Pembroke is out of his gourd. Lockhart doesn’t seem interested in going, but Lockhart it seems has been involved in some shady business practices, and the firm doesn’t hesitate for a second to blackmail him into taking the job. They also seem to have some skeletons in their closets and are looking to pass them off onto Pembroke. At first it seems that Lockhart would fit in better in Wolf of Wall Street, but after receiving the worst limo service in history, the movie slowly moves into more of an Eyes Wide Shut direction.

The imagery and cinematography are gorgeous. From winding trips through mountain passes to idyllic panoramas the filming locations and set pieces are beautiful and stick out as being one of the movies best features. The music, which initially seemed like it should belong in a standard horror movie starring children, really helped to build tension and atmosphere as the movie developed. The imagery in the movie is also very important. Early in the movie there is a body with only its feet sticking out from a bank of computer screens full of investment information. Imagery such as this help to develop the movies central idea though it reaches it in a meandering fashion.

For most of the 2nd act of the movie we enter into a series of events surrounding the angsty, insomnia laden, guilt ridden Lockhart. Lockhart becomes suspicious of the place fairly quickly. As Lockhart descends into madness he wanders through some of the worst medical confidentiality ever practiced and even worse medical procedures. Lockhart questions his own sanity as the world goes mad around him. While trying to gain access to the increasingly more elusive Pembroke and help himself struggle through an increasingly deteriorating mental state, Lockhart forges a friendship with Hannah, a very young patient at the hospital. She attempts to help him persevere through his condition. Last night, during New Year’s Eve festivities, we played the game Speak Out! which involves putting prosthetics in your mouth and trying to talk. You say something and your partner has to decipher what it is you were trying to say. I don’t know if I would play that game tonight after watching the movie.

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So. Much. Drooling.

One of the things the movie suffers from is some very heavy handed foreshadowing. One of the central props in the movie is a ballerina music box and the repetition of the concept of dreaming.  With lines like “that’s because she doesn’t know she’s dreaming” and “she’s dreaming, she just doesn’t know it,” being repeated frequently it leads you to make assumptions about Lockhart’s character. The backstory of the town and its relationship with the people on the mountain is also subject to a slow reveal. I suffer from having the inability to sit through a mystery. I have to try and solve it. I solved this one with more than an hour left in the movie. Normally, that would make me dissatisfied, but I found the journey to be greater than the destination.

The movie suffers from other flaws as well. The patients in the spa are supposed to be some of the richest and most powerful people in the world. Despite that, they come off as helpless, with behavior and actions that are incredibly inconsistent. There are also some supernatural events and medical procedures that are never adequately explained, a pointless scene that would make Louis C.K. proud, and the fact that the main character doesn’t understand how a toilet works for nearly an hour of running time the movie is still something to be seen.

Verdict:

As long as don’t go into the movie expecting a fast pace or non-stop action the movie is very enjoyable. The movie definitely has a slow build and could have been edited for length. It is beautiful though and the cinematography is fantastic. It presents a mystery that is greater than the sum of its parts and ultimately reaches a satisfying conclusion.

See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Insidious (2010)

Health:

Today, I am focusing on nutrition and setting myself up to be successful in the new year. If a nutritionist were to get a full picture of my dietary habits they would be appalled. I am throwing things away that I no longer want to have around the house and heading to the grocery store to stock up on healthy options. I need to get my nutrition in order or else I don’t feel exercise will be productive no matter what I do.

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