Indie & Foreign
A Dangerous Method (2011)

Instead of aiming for a full biographical film, Cronenberg chose to focus on Carl Jung's sexual repressions and the consequences of surrendering to his desires. The film is 90% about his intimacy, and 10% about the psychiatrist, focusing more on his affair and his BDSM sessions than his theories and his work. It's still good, but the film didn't have the guts to explore a larger framework.

Rating  

A provocative peek into early psychoanalysis.

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Carl Jung (Fassbender) meets Sabina Spielrein (Knightley) who is having one heck a rough time. She’s the physical description of hysterical. With time, we discover Spielrein is smarter than previously thought. It makes you wonder how many brilliant and promising minds were crushed by society’s standards before people began to really help them.

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Many of this film’s best parts involve Viggo Mortenssen as Sigmund Freud. The exchanges between Jung and Freud are very stimulating. Both filled with ideas and theories, Jung and Freud had legendary discussions focused on understanding the unexplored paths of the human mind. David Cronenberg wonderfully executes those encounters.

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Vincent Cassel’s formidable rendition of Otto Gross is more than worthy of recognition. His character is wild and promotes debauchery. He manages to put Jung off-balance during their exchanges. Gross is so convincing that soon enough, Jung questions his own views on monogamy.

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We often miss Mortenssen’s Freud when he’s not there for a given period of time. We only see him sporadically, but every scene he figures in has a tremendous impact on the following events. Despite Michael Fassbender’s solid work, Jung, the character, remains less interesting than Freud and Spielrein. Both of them initiate events. Jung doesn’t.

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Influenced by Gross, Jung finally gives in to his urges. Somehow, his relationship with Spielrein, although very carnal in nature, still has a clinical feel to it. They are observing each other. Let’s say they are studying… In a very physical way.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Bitchy” title=”Like Sabina, Freud has Jung by the balls now. Well, not physically. Erm.”/]

It now becomes more and more obvious that Freud and Jung are going their separate ways. You have to understand Freud’s point of view: Freud faced a lot of opposition, and he had to avoid losing his credibility. He ultimately gets the upper hand in the rivalry as Jung is forced to admit he had an affair with Spielrein.

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Keira Knightley did a tremendous job in this film. Her character goes through massive changes as the movie progresses. She starts off as a trainwreck, twisted both inside and out. Later, she becomes self-assured and ultimately more mentally stable than Carl Jung himself. This character required a lot of versatility, and Knightley delivered. Perhaps she was overshadowed by Mortenssen’s equally stellar performance, or maybe it’s just that she starred in a certain pirates franchise, but we barely heard praise for her work in this movie. It might not be much but here’s an “Oscar Worthy” mention for her from the Critic’s Remote!


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