I approach every psychological movie with a combination of excitement and apprehension, and “A Cure for Wellness” is no exception: it’s a visual feast, courtesy of director Gore Verbinsky, featuring a superior performance from its leading man, Dane DeHaan. How to describe the story? I’d say it’s a cross between Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth”, but that wouldn’t even begin to describe it. When it opens, a group of Wall Street sharks are sitting at a conference table with the following instructions: corporate newbie Lockhart (DeHaan) must travel to a recuperative resort in the Swiss Alps in order to bring back the company’s CEO, who checked in a few weeks ago and never returned. Simple task? You’d think. Once there, Lockhart discovers that the “resort” has secrets of its own, mainly involving the head doctor, played with a mix of mirth and malice by Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs. And thus begins “A Cure for Wellness”, a movie so beautiful to look at that you start hating yourself for not fully appreciating the end result. That’s because once you’ve digested the final “twist”, you start realizing that there may have not been much of a point. On the plus side, every actor gets a chance to shine in this lengthy, layered narrative. What’s more, I can’t remember the last time a movie truly kept me guessing at every turn (if only the finale had more surprises up its sleeve). So while the overall result is less than perfect, I still admire Verbinsky’s ambition and great direction. Needless to say, he’s crafted one of the most unusual movies of the year.
★★★ Very good