An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa's treatments are not what they seem.
In a twisted social experiment, 80 Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
John Gallagher Jr.,
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. Written by
20th Century Fox
Director Gore Verbinski is best known for the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, and also Rango, The Ring, and The Mexican, so "quietly understated" is not really his thing, If the Pirates movies are kind of a throwback to old Hollywood swashbucklers, this is a more lurid version of old Gothic suspense thrillers like "Rebecca" or "The Island of Doctor Moreau."
The main character is Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), who is the exact sort of morally bankrupt young financial hotshot you've seen in a bunch of other movies. His bosses are so cartoonishly evil that they may as well be counting wads of cash as they tell him he's being sent off to Europe to fetch a wayward executive whose signature is needed to allow a merger to go forth so as to allow them to rake in more millions. (Oddly, a similar plot undergirds the otherwise-completely different Will Smith vehicle "Collateral Beauty.")
Most of the rest of the movie takes place in a Swiss Alps sanitarium where practically everything looks like it's from some time in the first half of the last century. I half expected John Harvey Kellogg to show up, but instead we get Volmer (Jason Isaacs), the place's director. As with the patients and the staff, there's something not quite right about the overly affable man, and the impatient Lockhart has plenty of time to figure it out after an accident delays his trip back to New York.
Exactly what's going on, and why no one ever seems to leave the place, takes quite a while (almost 2.5 hours) to unspool, but Verbinski successfully distracts the viewer with visually arresting images of hallways, of peacefully exercising old people, of slithery fish, of living and maybe dead bodies in all shapes and sizes (but mostly white and old), and so on. A teen girl (aptly named Mia Goth), the only young person besides Lockhart, may hold some clues. Rather than a lush island, the sanitarium is high on a mountain, but the effect is the same, as if the viewer has been transported to a world apart.
Does this all sound good? Then you'll probably like this very dark fable. The deep mystery of why the place is so strange is possibly layered with too much complication. I think everything fits together pretty well, but I'm not positive. I am positive that this is definitely going to be a lot different than anything else in the multiplex whenever you might choose to see it.
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