Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)
A Dangerous Method (2011)

Genre: Drama
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassel
Language: English
Duration:  99 min.
Rating: 7.5  

A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

A Dangerous Method is a film directed by David Cronenberg, based on Christopher Hampton's play The Talking Cure, and John Kerr's non-fiction book A Most Dangerous Method. It premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.

Here Cronenberg assembles a wonderful cast led by Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Kiera Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, and Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross, to tell what essentially seems to be a tragic period romance in the guise of a historical biography. It's clearly a labor of love, as the subjects of Freud and psychoanalysis have been a long recurring theme in Cronenberg's films going as far back as 1977's Rabid; not to mention the basic idea of hidden destructive desires possessed and unleashed by accomplished medical professionals have always been his favorite film premise.

It's beautifully shot, perhaps the most visually impressive thing he's ever done. With a brilliant recreation of the period aided by some glorious work from sister and long time costume designer Denise Cronenberg. One quibble I had with the look was the painfully obvious CGI in one particular shot of Manhattan, but the other wonderful scenes shot in Germany but representing Switzerland and Austria more than make up for that small distraction.

The acting is fantastic as well, as can be expected from those leads, but also from the rest of the entire ensemble, in particular from Vincent Cassel in a criminally small supporting role as Otto Gross, a sexually liberated, read perverted, rogue disciple of Freud who just might be the most fascinating character in the entire cast; and a surprisingly intense if not entirely genuine turn from Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, who starts out as the first guinea pig patient of Jung's, a relationship which eventually results in a torrid affair.

The trouble lies in the story. In attempting to cover such a long stretch of time in just over an hour and a half, the narrative suffers by being too jumpy and episodic. Although these are all deftly crafted and indisputably interesting characters, there's not nearly enough of the psychological tension, unsettling drama, or twisted darkness that we are used to seeing from a Cronenberg picture. Dare I say it lacks a certain element of danger. In the end it's a well made film and a decent watch, but doesn't quite captivate or exhilarate like one of his films should.

Bonjour Tristesse

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method (2011)


Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hehe I'm sure it will be on DVD soon. you almost make that sound like you'll never get another chance to see it...

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah good but not quite great. I'm already looking forward to his next one Cosmopolis.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Yeah I was slightly disappointed but I will watch anything with his name on it.

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

Those are some big names. I expect I won't be disappointed overmuch.

Lisa Thatcher said...

Great review!  Thanks so much.
I'm dying to see this. 

Mette said...

I'm jealous because I missed the film :(... 

FilmMasterT said...

So the film involves Freud? I will watch this one soon. good review.

NeverTooEarlyMP said...

Really glad that you got to see this one! I liked it too, and remembered just enough from my psychology classes to enjoy the interactions and theories of each of the characters. But you're definitely right that the sense of "danger" that the title hints at never really develop.

Jack Deth said...

Hi, Bonjour and company:

This ia a film I want to see for many reasons. That it is a big budgeted period piece under the deft touch of David Cronenberg tops the list. The cast fills the second slot. Simply because they have so much potential with a ground breaking topic against such lavish surroundings and backdrops.

DEZMOND said...

As much as I adore Fass My Benders, Casell and Viggo, I just can't make myself watch that Knightley wench. She ruins all films for me. But the male part of the cast is just flawless

d_4 said...

I think I was oversold at the beginning, before you even got to say anything. After the trailer though, I started normalizing and then you pretty much settled it. Still definitely seeing this one, just not expecting a grand masterpiece.

Mette said...

True... but that's because I'm not the DVD renting type. I mostly find it to difficult to rent a DVD and rush to get it back so I don't have to pay that much.

Margaret M. said...

For me Knightley's work is the most embarassing and wors tperformance I've seen in years. She was in way over her head here and Cronenberg should have steered her better. I completely agree with the story being a huge problem. I found this movie to be the wost of all Cronenberg's films.

FilmMasterT said...

Not really, but he is an interesting man. 

Michael Parent said...

It looks pretty sober for a Cronenberg film. Since I am a fan of his work I'll dig into it  with great pleasure.

G said...

Great idea for a film and a great cast...and an awesome review...will have to add this to the 'watch list'

Post a Comment