A Cure For Wellness -Blu-Ray Review

In 2016 Gore Verbinski would set out to take a break from making Pirates of the Caribbean movies to make a stylistic and creepy tale of a mysterious facility that seems to be doing more harm than good.  With the help of the ever popular Dane DeHaan his vision would come to be short of fantastic but would do well to separate him from being remembered as a Johnny Depp fanboy.  The story being told here seems like it’s been told before. The whole time it feels like a story someone whispered to you ages ago, that you have somehow forgotten.  As we wander, tripping over information as slowly as possible, it feels distant, pointless even.  Where Verbinski ultimately loses his audience is the ability to connect a centralized theme to an audience in a way that makes us care.  Instead, we have a story, a question, and the only thing keeping us going is wanting an answer.

The Film

Our story follows Lockhart, a young, driven, executive type, willing to do anything to stay on top.  He soon finds that the only way to do so is to track down the company’s CEO, Pembroke, who has been away at a retreat for some time and has no apparent plans of returning.  Lockhart makes his way to this exclusive wellness center in the Swiss Alps to locate his CEO and return as soon as possible.  He soon finds more than he bargained for and finds it nearly impossible to leave the facility, as he starts to uncover a mysterious tale surrounding the center and its inhabitants.

 

Something’s amuck, that much is clear.  The minute we step into the center we can sense something is just not right.  The film moves a little too slowly to come to its grandiose reveal at the end, however, wins huge points for style and filming.  DeHaan is starting to grow on me as a performer and he is winning huge points for picking unique directors to work under.  This film takes us to an uncomfortable place and it’s good when it does.  Some of the most highlightable moments make me cringe the way a stylistic thriller should.  However as wonderful as those moments feel the film falls short of its amazing potential and only skimming the surface of what could have been a genre changing story if executed differently.  

 

The Film 3/5

Picture Quality

Verbinski chose to partner once again with renowned Cinematographer, Bojan Bezelli.  Bezelli and Verbinski, of course, worked together on The Ring managing to bring to life a horror tale that would last, as it happens, across a couple generations.  Helping to earn Gore the overused title of Visionary Director it is no wonder why Verbinski was eager to partner with Bezelli for his twisting and turning stylistic thriller.  I did not get a chance to see this one in theaters, however, jumped at the chance to let it come alive at home.  The result of this collaboration I have to admit is stunning and at the time absolutely unique.  This is a wonderful visual experience for the home screen and makes a lasting impression that has no chance of going away for days.

 

Picture Quality 5/5

Audio Quality

Benjamin Wallfisch manages to create one spectacular score for this film.  Simultaneously creating an eerie vibe and a retro feeling soundtrack, it is the perfect companion for this film.   One of the title tracks being “Hannah and Volmer” is tragic and beautiful and by itself is haunting. Wallfisch, of course, has quickly become a favorite to use in Hollywood big films such as Hidden Figures, 12 Years a Slave, and Batman v. Superman : Dawn of Justice. The score comes out perfectly on the small screen and loses no effect in creating the perfect tone for the film itself.  I also found no troubles with volume levels and the film seems to be adequately edited for home viewing.  

 

Audio Quality 5/5

Packaging

This has to be one of my favorite releases this year as far as packaging goes.  It is wonderfully unique in appearance and there is no mistaking it on the shelf.  The artwork stands out and does well to advertise the film itself.  Simplistic in nature I’ll admit, however sometimes simple is the most effective.  We have a nice high-quality glossy slipcover and on the inside, we have a not so standard eco-case with a disc on each side, each with its own artwork.  One very annoying trend this release followed is the cutout for the barcode on the back.  I just cannot stand this, it always catches and we know that it will ultimately be the downfall of the packaging itself.

 

The Packaging 4/5

Special Features

I was really not sure what to expect for the extras on this release.  I can tell you that I really didn’t expect the menu to be riddled with creepy sequences and bits of the score, really maintaining or setting the tone upon first viewing while you are on the menu.  As far as the included features, we are left wanting more.  Most of what it is included is just for fun add-ons to the film, no “making of.”  However, I quite enjoyed the featurette on the score.  The extras included are:

  • Deleted Sequence: “It’s Wonderful Here”
  • Meditations
    • Water is the Cure
    • Air is the Cure
    • Earth is the Cure
      • These are three short meditation guides based on the film
  • The Score
    • Wallfisch takes us through how he developed the score with Gore and leading to one of the most memorable scores of his career
  • Trailers
  • Sneak Peek

 

Special Features 3.5/5

Overall

All in all, this film does some outstanding things visually.  Some of the most stylistic and outstanding backdrops I have seen in a film in some time.  Dane DeHaan does well to play a tortured soul and victim who keeps failing to realize the truth time and time again.  Verbinski has a good way of picking certain actors and actresses that are simply irreplaceable within a story.  You just can’t imagine anyone else in the role.  Some of the films seems a bit too familiar and on the nose.  After some time of not knowing what’s going on, you kind of get fed up with the same plot loop repeating itself over and over however once it comes to fruition, we just don’t feel that great relief or shock and awe, you would hope for.  It just misses the buy in from the viewer by a little, and it has everything to do with the length of time that goes by without giving us some sort of clue in.  You can purchase this edition HERE.

 

Overall 3.5/5