On one shoulder there’s Zac explaining that this movie is great due to its beauty and style, and on the other there’s Ben who believes this movie is garbage. I find myself somewhere in between: This is a beautiful movie that sours into a pile of garbage with its questionable ending.
Basic Synopsis: Dane DeHaan’s character is tasked with bringing back the CEO of the company he works for from a “wellness center.” There’s the plan of retrieving the boss way over there, and then way over here there’s how things go.
Brief Thoughts: It’s clear from moment one that nothing is right in this location, no matter how beautifully Gore Verbinski manages to make it in appearances. Seriously, it sure is a pretty movie. But eventually as truths begin to reveal themselves I began to realize that the mystery was way better than the answer. Which is why I’m not going to be able to avoid spoilers while talking about A Cure for Wellness.
Is There A Dog In This Horror Film?: Like with Get Out, this isn’t actually horror so much as a suspense thriller that toes the line. On top of that there’s no dog anyway, so why exactly am I answering this question? Well, also similar to Get Out, there’s a deer that has a rather unfortunate collision with a car, the deer loses rather dramatically, and it is super sad.
Let’s Talk About That Ending (SPOILERS): The theme of immortality and incest begins to show itself to any viewer willing to see it long before it is actually revealed in the climax, but when it shows itself completely things get even worse than expected. And not just in a “how could you do this?” aimed at the villainous doctor, as it should be, but a “how could you do this?” aimed at Verbinski himself. In other words, I was more disturbed by the imagery than the actual story at a certain point, pulling me completely out of the movie.
Here’s my problem: you cannot spend the majority of the movie telling us that a certain character is a child and then think it’s ok to put her in a sexual nude scene with repeated shots of her bare chest. This scene was meant to be uncomfortable, obviously, but there’s a big difference between that and making an audience feel like pedophiles. It turns out Mia Goth is 24, and character wise she’s been around for ages), but I still feel super icky because of the portrayal of the character herself. So thanks for that, Verbinski.
Let’s Talk About Another Aspect of the Ending (Again, SPOILERS): In the final shots of the movie as Dehaan and Goth escape the horrors above on bicycle, DeHaan gets this super creepy, Cheshire Cat smile on his face. So… Is he not back to normal as we were led to believe by the scene in which he drops the ballerina figure Goth returns to him, spurring on his memory that everything is far from ok here and Goth needs saving? Or was this clarity just a momentary lapse in his brainwashing and that final shot is to show that he is still crazy? Honestly it makes no sense, and if it’s the latter then I am somehow even more disappointed in what was already a super disappointing ending.
Double Feature: I chose to watch this and Get Out together because of their mysterious natures, but I was actually quite surprised by how many additional similarities there are between the two vastly different movies. As to not give it away, I will just say there are two very similar events that bookend both movies, and there is a theme in common between the two.
Also worth mentioning is I couldn’t stop thinking about Shutter Island while watching A Cure For Wellness. That’s a film that definitely needs revisiting.
Final Thoughts: I was enjoying exploring the mystery in a rather beautifully shot locale, but this is definitely one of those movies where the ending ruined it for me.