A DANGEROUS METHOD
Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender star in director David Cronenberg's adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play detailing the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The year is 1904. Carl Jung (Fassbender), a disciple of Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), is using Freudian techniques to treat Russian-Jewish psychiatric patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) at Burghölzli Mental Hospital. But the deeper Jung's relationship with Spielrein grows, the further the burgeoning psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart. As Jung struggles to help his patient overcome some pressing paternal issues, disturbed patient Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) sets out to test the boundaries of the doctor's professional resolve. A Dangerous Method screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon
Release Date: Nov 23, 2011
Rated R for Sexual content and brief language
Runtime: 1 hr. 39 min.
David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method is a possibly his most elegant film in his illustrious career. A true life tale that covers so much territory about human nature that it can take a while to have it all settle in. The film’s restrained façade is a perfect setting for the film’s subject matter. He’s interested in showing us how people can’t discuss and dissect any topic without actually getting your feet wet and looking in the mirror. His cast delivers the kind of impressive turns you’d expect with each commanding the screen in turn. Michael Fassbender career year continues here as he plays Jung in a steely straight laced manner but exemplifying his simmering conflicted nature. Fassbender’s turn isn’t as showy as the other 2 primary roles but it’s just as effective. Keira Knightley, showing she’s master the art of teeth and neck acting, displays some real talent in her role which starts off as overblown but settles into a more effective turn as the film proceeds. Her character is fascinating even if Knightley’s idea of a Russian accent is a combination of her usual British tenor with the occasional deep voiced inflections. Viggo Mortensen’s role could have been larger but his performance as a cigar chomping Sigmund Freud is incredibly impressive. Mortensen and Fassbener’s woefully limited screen time together is one of the film’s many highlights. If there is a complaint it’s the fact that the focus seems misplaced on Jung and Spielrein’s relationship as opposed to Jung and Freud’s. It’s hardly enough to make it a failed endeavor though and while it might leave you wanting for more what we get is fairly impressive.