Mar 8, 2023
Gordon Hickey, Sally Elsbury, Conor Clear, Anthony Hickey, Shane Casey, Brian Moore, SJ Mrad, Simon Mombrun, Joel Vivas
The Cure explores a fascinating subject, something which is an unfortunately real paranoia of modern western life. The old saying that money is the root of all evil is one that tends to ring quite true, and perhaps the ultimate evil would be that pharmaceutical companies are actively working against curing illnesses for their own financial gain. In the case of this film, we meet a scientist who's been working, quite successfully, on finding a cure for HIV. Understandably he’s excited at the prospect of getting to work one morning to check his latest trial results, with the expectation that they should’ve gone very well. Except they’ve actually gone horrifically badly. What we then fall into is a story that introduces a number of compounding elements to suggest something isn’t quite right, and before we know it we have a Tom Clancy-esque action-thriller playing out.
There are parts that can feel disjointed from one another. It isn’t that anything happens without reason or purpose, it’s just that the scenes required to progress the narrative can feel as if they’re coming together in a way that isn’t natural. It’s almost like a James Bond film where the central character has to be astute at everything to even stand a chance of survival against a diverse cast of villains, but without the backstory to justify it or the opposition to necessitate it. Our protagonist in The Cure is a great martial artist who’s so intelligent that he’s a threat to organisations that are powerful enough to arrange a hit on him, and he has a loving partner with the intuition to tell him exactly what he needs to do to trigger a confrontation to show off those martial arts skills. It wouldn’t be unfair to say it all comes across as quite convenient, but crucially without the humour to suggest that it might be deliberate.
Where The Cure shines however is in its production value. There are beautifully framed camera shots from beginning to end, and some innovative uses of what appears to be a drone camera to capture an extended chase sequence. The task of making a short action film almost seems like a contradiction in terms given the usual excesses of the genre, but this really does achieve the feeling of something a lot bigger than it actually is. Equally, its soundtrack does a fantastic job of helping us to navigate the tonal shifts, of which there are a few.
It almost feels like two different films, competing with and pushing against one another as much as they’re trying to stick together. There’s a fascinating concept at the heart of the story which is wholly relevant to modern fears and concerns, but it’s just to facilitate a sort of wish-fulfilment experience. Despite the intriguing subject matter that the story is built upon, it doesn’t really matter very much. Aside from the statement that poor public health is essential for a number of profitable businesses, and that that’s bad obviously, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in digging below that surface stance very much. Instead, it’s all an engine to get us to a point where we have a character that’s easy to root for fighting for his life.
There’s no doubt that this is a fun watch, but it’s hard to ignore that it could’ve been an insightful one as well.