“Do You Know What The Cure For The Human Condition Is? Disease. Because That’s The Only Way One Could Hope For A Cure…”
Rather annoyingly, the use of the term “visionary” is something of which is pushed around so often in the current cinematic climate that to be regarded as such is somewhat of a negative down-stroke. With the likes of Zack Snyder and now Gore Verbinski proclaiming themselves as visionaries of modern cinema, directors who have released such “classics” such as Sucker Punch and Mouse Hunt respectively, the term has now officially become defunct and saved only for those who are deserved of the term, you know, like directors who have actually made films of some worth. Anyhow, Verbinski returns this year with the 18 rated A Cure For Wellness, a film which harks back to everything from The Ninth Configuration to Lars von Trier’s Riget, and a picture which can only be regarded as one of the most boring, misjudged and overlong works of horror I can remember within the remits of recent history. Whilst many have condoned A Cure For Wellness as simply nothing more than a Shutter Island rip-off, Verbinski’s latest makes Scorsese’s OTT two hours of mania look like a modern masterpiece, with it more likely to send you into a deep coma of confusion than inflict any real tangible sense of threat throughout a barnstorming length of two and a half hours.
After dropping a job-losing clunker and subsequently threatened with criminal prosecution, egotistic Wall Street flunky Lockhart, played by The Place Beyond the Pines’ Dane DeHaan, is sent to a mysterious health care centre in the heart of the Swiss Alps in order to retrieve a AWOL financial executive who has supposedly regressed into a complete and utter basket case and refuses to return to the US of A in order to complete a huge financial deal. Cue creepy looking patients, a mindless and ridiculously overcooked narrative and a concluding feeling of watching a movie which not only could lose at least an hour of its’ running time but one in which nothing actually happens, A Cure for Wellness suffers primarily from a runtime which is unbearable to say the least, and although Verbinski is renowned for an array of miscalculated movie lengths, with Pirates of the Caribbean 3 being a prime example, A Cure for Wellness is his pièce de résistance in terms of runtime malpractice. Whilst Jason Isaacs does do the best with what he’s given in the cliched “foreign stranger” role, the movie can’t escape the problems of its’ silliness, particularly within scenes of unnecessary violence including a cheesy R-rated dentist appointment and an attempted rape scene which borders on the outskirts of being a utter cringe-inflicted misstep. If you wish to see the type of movie A Cure for Wellness is so obviously attempting to be, seek out something like Shutter Island or The Shining instead, relieving you of the utter tedium of delving into a horror which is neither horrific or interesting. A cure for wellness? A cure for sleep deprivation.
Overall Score: 3/10
Another Disney movie with Johnny Depp in. Again, playing the weirdest character possible. For me, it’s lost it’s charm and really reflects Disney’s desire to ride off of the success of Jack Sparrow in alternate realities. Within recent weeks, The Lone Ranger has suffered largely from a flop in America and critics bashing it left, right and centre. It’s $220 million budget was one of the big problems that Disney has had on this project and it’s expected that it may not see an actual return on the investment. With thee American results over a month ago, it is extremely unlikely that it will achieve over $190 million from the worldwide box office. Personally, I wasn’t aware that The Lone Ranger was a radio show, TV show and loads more avenues. I thought it was a kids books from back in the day. Not experiencing the avenues, I don’t know much about The Lone Ranger and Tonto but this movie focuses on the beginning of the pair which could mean it is an origins story with the potential for more. However, due to the sales, this is very unlikely even though Gore Verbinski directed it and is renowned for his Pirates of The Caribbean trilogy (Not the Black Beard one!)
Instead of just jumping into the story, we join the world in the 1920’s (Bit of a stab in the dark!) A young boy dressed in Lone Ranger attire wanders through a Wild West carnival exhibit and stumbles across a Native Indian statue which turns out to be real. Soon we find out it’s Tonto (Johnny Depp) whose grown old. From this point, he beings to reactant the story of how he and the Lone Ranger met and the story that formed the bond between them, only to be interrupted a few times in the midst of the story to clear up things that Tonto left out (presumably because of age), this could have been used to aid the plot but it felt intrusive and stopped the motion of play at certain points but really aided the ending with the explosion of a bridge by deviating before it blew and returning about 20 minutes later to finally watch it go up in flames. The overall story was one that was very simple and could have ended at multiple points. Skipping through the usual ‘How our heroes came to be’ we know that Tonto is a nutter and John Reid – The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) is a city lawyer broken apart by the death of his Texas Ranger brother. Seeking justice, the pair ride together to find Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), an infamous posse leader who is known for eating the organs of his fallen foes, right in front of their corpse. With a mix of plot twists and turns, the story doesn’t grind to a halt but it could easily have ended much sooner rather than being dragged along for a 2 1/2 hour journey.
A big budget, a collection of famous names and faces with a talented director and Disney’s backing, you can see that a lot of work and dedication has gone into the movie. As a group, the writers have worked together to create something both adult and child friendly while reflecting the complexity of the situation that was happening at the time with the conflicts between Americans and the Natives over control of the land and its natural resources. Alongside the cinematography the overall filming was stunning and the cunning use of the props was an intriguing and clever idea. The prop use that sticks out to me was when Tonto was looting the bodies of the dead rangers and was doing a traditional Indian trade when he gave him a packet of nuts that was given to him by the young child he is telling the story too. Lighting was heavily considered for certain areas. The most prominent area was the silver mine which has the brightest lighting combined with the natural light of the area, the whole area glistened white. The shots ranged from extreme close-ups to long shots that captured the landscape brilliantly and transitioned between areas extremely well. The general construction of both the settings and the costumes should be applauded as they were well manufactured and fit the area perfectly.
Out of the whole cast, the best acted character was Butch Cavendish. One – his make-up was impeccable and I didn’t know it was him until I looked at the IMDB list. Two – Fichtner managed to keep in character without losing character by over exaggerating. Once again, the typical duo of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are gracing the screens together. Nothing new and exciting there but Helena only appears 2-3 times and doesn’t really do much to warrant the huge pay check that she received, especially with the accent that didn’t sound very ‘western’. As usual, Depp plays a weird character that is placed out of the regular confines of modern society in a changing world. He plays the crazy characters fine, the feeding of the dead bird was entertaining and his blank stares were much the same but it’s nothing that we haven’t already seen and I would really like to see him in something a little more serious, perhaps Rum Diaries. Finally, we have the main hero John Reid. Arnie Hammer doesn’t appear to have done a huge amount and I would hazard a guess that this is his first leading role so far and it wasn’t bad. He was a little weird and points and spent most of the time being a bit of a liability with very little character development apart from his brothers death and his brothers wife who he loves…One of my problems is with the casting of Reid’s nephew, why can they not cast a child who can act a little?
In typical Verbinski style, this movie is just an action movie. It is also filled with comedy and crazy shenanigans which made the Pirates series so popular. A personal favourite was the rabbits. Not just ordinary rabbits, savage mother fuckers who will quite happily feed on their dead cooked cousin while snarling at the screen bearing its teeth, bundling in with a brawl between seemingly normal animals. The rest of the comedy was the over zealous explosions, fight scenes with witty one liners, The spirit horse that appears from nowhere and the heroic duo who spend moments arguing like a married couple in Asda’s drink section (Walmart to the Americans), Alongside that you have Tonto’s weird behaviour coupled with that bloody crow can be funny.
So overall, the movie is fun. Not a masterpiece of cinema, or a brilliantly scripted piece that grabs you by the balls and pulls you into the dark room. There was no tension builders that could have assisted the story but in total I feel it is worth the watch, seeing as we won’t be seeing a follow-up to it. 6/10 feels right to me. 7/10 on a good day.