Alamo Drafthouse kicks ass. I am a Victory member, which means I receive invitations to preview screenings as well as other perks like free shakes, entrees and movie tickets. My lover and I attended a screening of A CURE FOR WELLNESS, Gore Verbinski’s newest thriller on February 7. We were given little blue bottle droppers labeled with the words “FEELING BETTER?” before the movie and then Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthoue, appeared on our movie screen and told us to take three drops (which I did cuz that guy is so smart and fun and I want to be his friend). Then he told us that after the movie, Gore Verbinski (Director) and Dane DeHaan (Lockhart) would do a live stream Q & A. I’m feeling good about this.
Below are my reactions to the film. There are spoilers below. Lots of them.
- Right from the start, some kid is humming a creepy tune while we look up at dark towering office buildings until we finally see one office lit up. Just one. On Wall Street? That doesn’t seem right (right?).
- The images of water are strong, even a few minutes in: a goldfish watching Morris work, a water cooler giving Morris a moment of relief and then contributing to his demise.
- The beautiful train shot will not be the same for anyone watching this film at home.
- I have to say, Dane DeHaan reminds me of Leo Dicaprio in the best way. My teenage fantasies were all back for this guy, even as the ignorant, arrogant Mr. Lockhart. UGH THEY ARE SO PRETTY. I want to watch all the young Leo movies now (THE BASKETBALL DIARIES is my jam).
- The only woman on the board, Hollis, has the best line in the whole movie and I feel like it would make Gore crack up every time he watches this sequence. While these high ups (Carl Lumbly from ALIAS among them) are telling Lockhart that he fucked up somehow and now he has to go to Germany to bring back the missing board member, Pembroke, who wrote everyone these letters that say he is not coming back, Hollis abruptly asks Lockhart if he has ever had a 12″ black dick in his ass. Then Gore gives us a shot of the rest of the people in the room with surprised looks, Mr. Lumbly (the only man of color in the room) in the middle of the frame . There is a beat, we cut back to her and she says, “Prison.”
I was the only one in the theater who burst out laughing.
- Lockhart makes his way to Germany in a series of stunning shots. The camera gives us a birds eye view of the car as it passes through mountains. Lockhart doesn’t see any of it until his computer dies. These shots, like the train shot, are unsettling. The scenery is beautiful, but the shots seem dangerous. The abrupt violence against the car adds to this unsettled feeling.
- The super creepy Mom premonition flashbacks in all this had me thinking there was some epiphany I was missing. The camera shots of mom eye then the perspective camera shot from the eye of the stuffed head on the doctor’s wall AND the eye of the goldfish watching Morris are wonderful, unsettling additions to the beginning of Lockhart’s story.
- Enter Jason Isaacs as the creepy doctor. I just saw him as the relatable, but terrible villain in the Netflix series THE OA. He takes some drops from his own blue bottle. As we are driving away from the spa Dane sees a creepy, yet intriguing girl standing atop a wall, a dangerous place to be for a waif such as Mia Goth. She isn’t scared of anything though. She is married to Shia and they met on the set of Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC Vol. II. They are destined.
- The car accident was terrifying and slow, like a dance. Dane later told us, during the Q & A, the sequence was shot over all of the five months of shooting and then put together for the final look. The amount of time it took the CGI deer to fall and stay down was unsettling and troubled me.
- Forward to three days later, Lockhart wakes up from his accident at the spa, drinks the bug water, has some visions of a deer in a labyrinth steam bath, and with some detective work, finds Pembroke. They talk about his dead father, who looks just like him, the sickness and other vague shit.
- We meet Hannah, humming the creepy tune we can all hum by now.
- We find out Victoria’s pee is whack.
- We see an ancient float tank. (I work at a float center. This part was real cool for me.) And we see nurses beating off with straight faces.
- Someone needs to fix that toilet handle.
- Hannah and Lockhart go to town, in an act of defiance. Hannah witnesses a girl gang doing girl things in the bathroom – like using paper towels as maxi pads when no one brought a tampon with them. There was a blatant CARRIE vibe here. I have one qualm about the bathroom stuff. No one would ever EVER leave a full, new tube of MAC lipstick behind. That shit is expensive. Lockhart gets some answers from a man while a creepy kid draws the spa burning to the ground.
- We start getting into some heavy creep shit now. The tooth pulling was UGH. The Transfusions flusel punch in the face moment was brilliant, and then HOLY FUCKING SHIT Gore went all Eli Roth on us and gave us dental gore. That was super intense. The smoke coming off his tooth was the most wonderful detail. I always have to take a Xanax before I go to the dentist because this is the type of thing I think about. Thanks, Gore.
- One fantasy about Hannah from Lockhart changes everything. I guess Jason Issacs’ fantasies weren’t good enough to make any changes. So, Hannah “becomes a woman” while surrounded by eels in a pool of water and then runs around flailing her arms in a see through dress with blood all over her. Totally normal. Every girl goes through this experience when getting her period for the first time.
- This just isn’t okay with Jason Isaacs. He finally gives Lockhart the what for and explains his evil plan, like evil doctors do, before he gets married and rapes his daughter, but not before smelling her pussy with his fingers and then ripping his face off and nonchalantly catching fire. He is Draco Malfoy’s dad in HP, so I am not actually surprised by this behavior.
- The now familiar tune becoming a fully orchestrated piece for the immortals to dance to was so good. Those people deserve a night to themselves. They work really hard to maintain immortality.
- That smile from Dane DeHann at the end was THE BEST.
- I wondered what would happen to Hannah now. It took her so long to have her period. If she doesn’t have her medicine will she grow old real fast or just die or age normally?
- During the Q & A, which was live from Austin, Tim League asked questions, audience members asked questions, and someone read off questions from Twitter. I submitted mine too late to get an answer:
If you liked this movie and are telling people to watch it, tell them to watch this movie in a theater, dudes. It is stunning, and the unsettling feeling just won’t be there at home. You need the big sound and the big screen and a big drink to get it right.