I don’t watch Johnny Depp movies, so I’m not familiar with much of Gore Verbinski’s work. But since Johnny Depp isn’t in this one, and since I thought The Weather Man and The Ring were adequate, I decided to give A Cure for Wellness a shot.
Lockhart (a very bored/indifferent-looking Dane DeHaan) is an ambitious salesman at a big company. He’s been caught participating in some shady dealings, and if he wants to keep his job, he’ll need to go retrieve the company’s CEO, Pembroke (Harry Groener), from a remote sanitarium in the Swiss Alps where he’s been holed up for quite some time.
The last leg of his journey is an exposition-filled car ride where we learn that the sanitarium is built on the site where a castle once stood. Its former resident was an extremely vain man that wanted a child, but who thought the only one pure enough to supply the other half of the DNA was his sister. The townspeople really didn’t like this, so they burned the castle and killed the woman. But the despite its checkered past, the site has some really great water with some supposedly-magical healing abilities, so it’s become a kind of luxury retirement home for the ultra-rich.
This movie is two-and-a-half hours long, but I have no idea why. The end was obvious half an hour into the movie, and it only took that long to figure it out because the story was front-loaded with a bunch of unnecessary junk, like watching one of Lockhart’s coworkers have a heart attack or seeing way too much of Lockhart’s trip. But as soon as we’ve met all of the principal characters (including the guy who runs the sanitarium and several of the patents), we’re just waiting and waiting and waiting for the events to play themselves out. That’s because the middle and end of the movie are also full of things that don’t matter, don’t make any sense, or are just paced way too slowly.
It’s likely that the premise could’ve made for a decent short film. Maybe it’s even possible that it could have been passable had they only chopped an hour out of it. But at 146 minutes, it’s completely hopeless.