The horror thriller Cure for Health by Gore Verbinski is one of the most obscure films of 2017. On the one hand, this is a visually high-quality thriller, the prototype of which was without a doubt ” Shutter Island “. As noted in other articles on this topic: the similarity of Lockhart’s hero with the hero Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) was not noticed only by the lazy. On the other hand, this is a completely direct and almost screaming film about what a bad consumer society surrounds us every day. Straightforward and unprincipled.
It is also worth noting that many critics criticized this picture for the obvious imagery and the use of too frank artistic elements. But the movie itself doesn’t even try to be anything else. This is a classic almost noir thriller set in an old manor and centered around one protagonist who is promised strange and even dangerous adventures.
What is the movie “A Cure for Wellness” about?
The plot of the movie focuses on the story of a young and promising employee of a large firm located in New York named Lockhart. Colleagues send him to a Swiss resort, as the boss of the company left there quite enough and never returned. But no one told Lockhart that the boss, deeply disappointed with the society in which he was, was not going to come to New York and even notified the rest of the employees of his decision.
But instead of the Lockhart resort, having an accident and severely injuring his leg, he finds himself in a strange-looking hospital in a Gothic-style castle, on the gates of which there are snakes. He tries to find his boss, but does not find him among the patients.
The longer Lockhart is in the walls of the hospital, the more and more he goes crazy. Trying to prove to himself and others that he is completely normal and did not come here of his own free will, the protagonist increasingly sees hallucinations and is subjected to all sorts of “medical” manipulations by doctors.
He finds a huge room with a large number of bodies placed in formalin, and realizes that human experiments are being carried out in the asylum.
Lockhart later realizes that his leg is not broken. He removes the cast and begins to walk around the hospital, finding more and more evidence that terrible things are done to people in this place that have nothing to do with treatment. He also learns that the corpses of patients are thrown into the lake.
One of the patients tells Lockhart the history of this sanatorium. It was allegedly built on the site of a burned-out old castle in which the baron lived, who experimented on his peasants. He married his sister to have a purebred child, at first it didn’t work out. The wife was able to get pregnant, but the peasants rebelled, burned the castle and cut the child out of the mother’s body, but the girl managed to survive. So the legend went.
Dealing with all the oddities happening here, Lockhart increasingly lost touch with reality, but nothing could stop his desire to get to the bottom of it.
“A Cure for Wellness” plot explained
According to all reviews, the idea of the film is that the consumer society is gradually taking a person’s life.
The protagonist of the film Lockhart is a workaholic. He literally burns at work. Once his father, an employee of a large corporation, unable to withstand the insane rhythm of life, committed suicide by throwing himself from a bridge. At some point, the young man also begins to see himself standing on the edge of the bridge. This indicates his emotional burnout. He does not have enough time to take care of his sick mother. So he puts her in a nursing home.
There, an elderly woman, doing occupational therapy, paints beautiful ballerinas – the decoration of music boxes. Ballerinas in the film symbolize freedom and the flight of the soul. After his mother’s death, Lockhart takes one of the ballerinas for himself as a reminder of her.
Time trouble constantly accompanies his life: even on the train, he cannot rest in peace.
The head of the corporation in which Lockhart works, at one moment realized that he lives on petty petty-bourgeois interests. He realized that the main thing in this life is to maintain common sense. That’s what he said in a letter to the board of directors.
With a literal reproduction of the events of the film “A Cure for Wellness”, you can find out that the mad baron (he is also the head physician and director of the medical institution), under the guise of wellness procedures, launches parasitic fish into the body of patients, which gradually exhaust and kill a person.
From the bodies of the victims, the crazy “doctor” receives a unique drug that can preserve youth. This moment completely mirrors the situation that has developed in modern society: according to conspiracy theory, only a handful of people are endowed with power and benefits, and, accordingly, with great influence. This handful use other people to achieve their goals.
The meaning of the picture is that people are voluntarily involved in this process. People are offered significant benefits: to stay healthy and young as long as possible. In modern society, the cult of the body, the cult of youth and beauty is constantly being imposed on us (despite the new fashion trend, body positivity, this still remains unchanged), and many are ready for senseless sacrifices for the sake of improving it. The powerful of this world are trying to find means to prolong life, but, be that as it may, you have to pay for everything.
Without noticing it, a person becomes a cog in the mechanism of a giant consumption machine. At the same time, he experiences alienation, which Karl Marx spoke about: a person seems to be sacrificing himself to a consumer society. Forced labor becomes a means to satisfy the needs for more and more benefits. In the process of labor, a person does not belong to himself, and, accordingly, does not experience any pleasure from his activity.
The title of the film (“A Cure for Wellness”) contains its hidden meaning – it is an oxymoron that very accurately conveys the main idea.
What Volmer wanted
Volmer is not just a doctor, he is a baron, and it is he who owns the castle. Several centuries ago, he had a romantic relationship with a sick sister whom he tried to treat.
He has a laboratory in which he studies eels that live in underground waters. This “magic water” is highly toxic. But for eels, it extended the life of up to three hundred years.
Volmer tried to transfer the discovered effect to humans: he placed live eels in the throat and stomach of living people. The resulting concentrate was drunk only by himself, his assistant Hannah, and a couple of other people. Thus, Volmer’s entire experiment was aimed at achieving his own perverted goal.
By killing people, Vollmer inspires that they are getting much better. In the film, the patients are depicted as reality-denying zombies. Here you can draw a parallel with modern media and advertising, which lull the vigilance of a person, presenting information with a share of propaganda – in a distorted form.
What do acne mean
In the film, the baron injects parasitic eels into the patient’s body, which, according to him, live for 300 years. Real eels live up to 20 years at best.
Capitalist society is just over 300 years old. It, like a parasite, draws vital energy from many generations of people in order to maintain its existence. The droplets that fill the vessel of longevity are the lives of individuals.
Eels are chosen as a symbol of this society not by chance. They are cold (cold-blooded) and slippery (quirky). Eels resemble snakes, which in many cultures symbolize temptation and evil. These creatures are contrasted with the image of a dead goldfish that we see in the corporate office. It symbolizes ruined hope and unfulfilled desires.
Eels live in water, an image that also has a special meaning in the film. The characters in the movie A Cure for Wellness ingest water in large quantities. With this, the creators wanted to show how deeply the parasitic society penetrated into the very essence of man: water should purify, but here it infects.
“A Cure for Wellness” ending explained
At the end there are some important points. When a girl “grows up”, she is surrounded by eels. This is a kind of reference to initiation, an image of growing up and the influence of society on the intimate part of a girl’s life. This refers to the gradual corruption by a person of his own pure, childish consciousness.
The film has two endings (and two explanations): relatively real and fantastic.
The meaning of the first ending of the film “The Cure for Health” is that the hero eventually dies, and everything else is an alternative scenario.
According to the second option, the protagonist gets out of the labyrinth-sanatorium and unexpectedly meets with the bosses from his corporation. That is, the meaning of the ending lies in the fact that Lockhart was able to get out of the corporation, in fact, working only for himself, not at all caring about employees who, like zombies from a sanatorium, are chasing money, giving life, dreams and health in return.
At the end of the film, we observe the scene of the sanatorium being set on fire. People look at the fire, go out into the yard, but they have nowhere to go. So they just watch what is happening.
In the end, the protagonist must make a choice: stay and build a career, or find freedom and start living.
At the end of the film, we see Lockhart’s face. His smile at the end is more of a smirk. The explanation is this: the boss, in search of which he went, at the very beginning said how important it is to maintain common sense and be able to cleanse oneself of the values \u200b\u200bof philistinism and thoughtless burning of life.
Lockhart, sort of, realized that he had made the right choice, leaving not by car, but by bicycle, and with a girlfriend, and not with a work colleague. But will he be able to maintain his sanity, having managed to destroy the vicious system? His smirk suggests that this is impossible.
However, maybe Lockhart was insane from the beginning, and everything that happened to him was just a paranoid fantasy? However, for a symbolic reading of the film, this is unimportant.