David Freyne’s ingenious, sombre debut boasts just such a hook. Though The Cured loses its way a little in the final act, it offers delicious variations that facilitate new (if not exactly fresh) flavours of creepiness and great scope for socio-political metaphor.
Elsewhere, Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), a former lawyer, also among the cured, finds his rehabilitation even less comfy as he edges towards insurrection. The relationships between the three principals drive the action and generate the sociological mulch.
Shot in and around a convincingly battered, appropriately damp Dublin, The Cured profits from first-class performances. Page is muffled by grief. Sam Keeley, an Irish actor who’s been everywhere over the last decade, including the Irish TV Medical series ‘The Clinic’, carries impressive weight of trauma through every scene. And, not for the first time, a charismatic, focused Tom Vaughan Lawlor who bosses the screen into compliance.
The Cured is not a puzzle. It does not have a solution. But the key to its meanings is tied up with Conor’s character. The film emerges following a period when refugees and asylum seekers have been victimised as the source of all society’s ills. Pocket demagogues ride such discontent to dangerous success. The Cured identifies its title characters as victims and, if so inclined, the audience can make their own connections with the wider world.If anything, political analogies are a little too busy here; the core action gets a little swamped by heavy ‘importance’ in the closing stages, somewhat.