A Dangerous Method
Canadian-born David Cronenberg, known as the Baron of Blood for his genre-defining horror films such as Scanners (1981) and The Fly (1986), returns with his first biopic following the life of psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his relationship with Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen).
The narrative focuses on Jung who, after being unable to diagnose patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) and free her from episodes of psychotic behaviour, turns to renowned doctor Sigmund Freud and thus forms an important relationship and revolutionises the study of psychoanalysis.
Having dealt with patient-doctor relationships in bloody horror The Brood, Cronenberg returns to the subject but with a very different eye. Much like A History of Violence and aster Promises, A Dangerous Method is awash with rich location settings and innovatively placed shots that explore the process of psychoanalytic treatment at the turn of the twentieth century.
Filming in the simple but tranquil country side ares of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, it allows for some breath-taking cinematography which contrasts a story of complexities, deceit and despair beautifully adapted by Christopher Hampton.
Fassbender and Mortensen display a wonderful sense of chemistry as Jung attempts to decipher a pompous but strangely likeable Freud. After experimenting with Freud’s method for some time, Jung then meets fellow doctor Otto Gross (portrayed wonderfully by Vincent Cassel), who’s blasé stance on sexuality leads Jung to begin an affair with Spielrein.
This is a tale of scientific exploration, human relationships and most of all, sexuality and its place in the study of human psychosis. Cronenberg delivers a thought-provoking film which could be one of the best biopics of Jung to date.
Keira Knightley puts in a strong but sometimes laughable performance as a mad Russian woman who has been mentally and physically destroyed by her illness and Viggo Mortensen does equally well as Freud portraying a calm but deeply troubled man, obsessed with his own findings.
A Dangerous Method is slow at times but gets its message across eventually. A stand out performance from Knightley is bound to have critics divided but her accent is consistent and her portrayal of a mad woman is close to flawless.
A Dangerous Method is released nationwide on 10th February 2012.
Watch the trailer for A Dangerous Method here: