Most of you would only recognize the name Gore Verbinski if it were prefaced with a Hans Zimmer score, and you saw Johnny Depp bumbling around as a pirate (back when he was a reputable actor).
The former “Pirates of the Caribbean” director, has a limited filmography, however he does hold an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for “Rango” in 2012.
Verbinski has taken his second stab at the horror genre in his most recent psychological thriller, “A Cure for Wellness (Cure)”. In it we follow Lockhart (Dane DeHaan, “A Place Beyond the Pines”), a young ambitious financial executive, who has been sent to extract a fellow employee, Pembrooke, from his permanent stay at a wellness center in the Swiss Alps. Lockhart arrives at the wellness center, only to find out that he cannot visit Pembrooke until the following day. On his way to the neighboring town to stay the night, he gets in a car accident breaking his leg. He wakes up to find himself a patient at the same wellness center, as he is flung into a game of “who-dunnit” trying to locate Pembrooke.
“Cure” does do one thing right, and that is with its cinematography. Verbinski collaborates with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli (“Pete’s Dragon”) to exhibit a multitude of striking images throughout the film, keeping your attention when the story might not. This adds a level of intrigue that not only prolongs your interest, but also makes you question how they accomplished the shots that they did.
Unfortunately, the cinematography is the only redeeming quality of “Cure.”
Right from the beginning we are given this picture of corporate America, and it is not a pretty one. Throughout, we are constantly bombarded with that same image to the point of excess. But this isn’t the only element of the movie that is emphasized on disproportionately. Along with the redundant message warning against a conformist society, we are also made subject to the unwarranted amounts of foreshadowing and drivel. It is understandable, as a horror movie, that there is a necessity to separate oneself from the pack of other genres; but going to the point of begging to be seen as different, rather than just being different, is plain pointless. The shock and awe factor became more superfluous than “shocking” and “awing” as the movie went on.
In unison with the constant barrage of theme and needless unnerving images, the story itself is oversaturated. What is conveyed in two and a half hours, could have been expressed with an hour shorter runtime. Whether Lockhart, the peculiar Hannah (Mia Goth, “Everest”), or the eerie Dr. Volmer (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter series), the characters constantly revert back to the motivation of the script, which by the end makes the reveal less effective. Normally the reveal is something the whole audience waits for in expectation and anticipation, here you simply wait for it to be over.
To sum up this movie in just a few words, (unlike the movie itself), “Cure” aims to please the audience visibly, but falls short when attempting to tell a cohesive and riveting story. I hope you think twice before seeing this movie, because I’m sure there is something better out there for you to watch.
4 out of 10
— Luke Guertler, Staff Movie Critic