The members of the Screening Room sit quietly around a table in a dimly lit radio studio. DJ “Mad” Mike fiddles with volume controls and various knobs on the control board, DJ TV ponders an article on his mobile phone, Foxx Jackson sips thoughtfully from his signature highly caffeinated beverage. They have just seen Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure for Wellness.” Set in present day, Cure tells the story of a young businessman sent on an errand by his corporate overlords to find one of their fellows at a resort in the Swiss Alps. However, it turns out that this “resort” is actually a sanitarium, and there’s a little more going on than meets the eye. Maybe.
Foxx: A cure for wellness? More like a cure for intelligence. I’m often critical of films, but rarely do I give a scathing review. Even within the first thirty seconds, I was disheartened. I had gone into this film expecting a dark, creepy asylum thriller akin to “Shutter Island.” This, I think, was my first mistake. While the film was marketed as being set in the 40s/50s, I had no real reason to believe that, so that’s on me. My second mistake was setting the bar at “Shutter Island.” I consider Shutter to be a masterpiece of the thriller genre. What irks me about Cure is that it seems to think it is a clever asylum horror/thriller film. Occasionally our protagonist has bizarre visions and even begins to think himself insane at a later point in the film, yet we as the ones looking are never left wondering. We always know there is something sinister going on, there is never any doubt. If anything, “A Cure for Wellness” does a great job of “showing, not telling.” Simply put, it’s beautiful. The sanitarium’s interior and exterior are both breath-taking and haunting. Beneath the sanitarium sits a small village that is depressingly dreary and drab, rarely do we see such efficient use of gray and brown in a set piece. Unfortunately, the amazing visuals do not even begin to compensate for a ridiculous story that can only be described as harebrained. My Screening Room rating is most definitely a “burn it.” This is a movie that shouldn’t have been made, it was an incredibly slow two and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back.
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