Movie Review: The Institute (2017)

Please note: there might be some spoilers here. Nothing which will ruin your enjoyment of the film, but I promise you there won’t be any enjoyment anyway.

Co-directed by the team of Pamela Romanowsky and James Franco, The Institute is a 2017 thriller. Very, very loosely based on true events, James Franco stars as Dr Cairn, the head of the Rosewood Center in the late 1890s outside Baltimore, Maryland. Allie Gallerani is Isabel Porter, who, after the death of her parents, is brought to Rosewood at the behest of her brother Roderick (Joe Pease) and long time family doctor, Dr Torrington (Eric Roberts). Things are not all they appear at the hospital (for lack of a better word), as patients act bizarre and nurses keep secrets from all their patients. Tim Blake Nelson also stars as the surgeon, Dr Lemelle, and Lori Singer plays Madame Werner, the head of the center.

+ Gallerani is perhaps the only saving grace of this mess, especially towards the second half of the film (due to the range of situations she finds herself in)

– James Franco was seemingly just there, to glare menacingly or whisper sweet nothings to several of his patients. His bad moustache was more interesting than his cookie cutter “evil doctor” character. Tim Blake Nelson was mostly wasted as the surgeon (and even the Rosewood center uses that term very loosely). Josh Duhamel rocks up as a Detective doing some personal work for Roderick, but so little comes of his involvement I wasn’t even going to mention it
– the plot has so much going on – brainwashing, torture, murder, secret societies etc – it is bound to be interesting in at least one way, after slogging through all the other crap. To me, it seemed to fit somewhere between Eyes Wide Shut and Kill List, without any of the mystique or intrigue of either

> the credits lists Topher Grace as having played a character named Vincent, but I have absolutely no recollection of anyone named Vincent, nor having seen Topher Grace’s face. Grace is not on the IMDb page, nor is the name ‘Vincent’ said anywhere in the subtitles

Should you see this film: Absolutely not. It was just over 90 minutes long, and I almost wish I had sat staring at a blank wall for that time, because I could have imagined something more entertaining.

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