There is something so off kilter from the first frame itself, something so weirdly offset that the air itself absorbs and sucks us into this dementedly perfect world of Gore Verbinski. The water, the Swiss Alps, the plateau on the hill, the bloody history and the mythical therapies, this is the stuff nasty thrillers are made of.

It follows a Shutter Island’ish’ route, a sanatorium which has more than it meets the eye. Themes of fulfillment in life and of eventual emptiness that blackens the hearts are predominantly strong in the initial segment and gives way for complex character buildup. The strongest suit of A Cure for Wellness, which is the slow twitching tension that it builds, might become the weakest link for some viewers as it may lead to eventual frustration in some. The coils wind and wind and then wind some more for over 120 minutes of unstoppable tension building moments with rewards that does not meet the eye of the initial promise.

The symmetries are perfect with several frames split from the middle which makes A Cure for Wellness visually stunning. The awe inspiring cinematography captures Switzerland in the lenses as never before, like a lost and forgotten heaven on Earth. What ails the affair is the elongated run-time and tonal shifts. It overstays its presence as our protagonist tracks already treaded paths and goes down the cliched roads on multiple occasions. Inspirations of greats like Kubrick and Lynch are fairly visible in Verbinski’s approach to the execution, howsoever, improper editing and slight pacing issues take some punches away.

Deeply atmospheric, haunting and uniquely fiendish, A Cure for Wellness is a visual tour de force from Verbinski with a no hold barred eccentric style. The polished madness coupled with the serene beauty of gothic weirdness makes it a bold attempt to achieve something great and is only marred by a fragile third act.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté


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