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A DANGEROUS METHOD Thread

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  • Anonymous
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    #36369

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    babypook
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    #36371

    http://youtu.be/lblzHkoNn3Q

     

    Looking forward to this latest from David Cronenberg! Definitely one of my favorite directors. Fassbender and Mortensen are like icing.

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    simone
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    #36372

    I saw it at TIFF… maybe I need to watch it a second time because I was left underwhelmed.  All principle actors did fine in their roles, but no one will be nominated.

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    Edwin Drood
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    #36373

    All principle actors did fine in their roles, but no one will be nominated.

     

    Is this assessment based on your own personal reaction to the film or a considered analysis of what is likely to appeal to AMPAS actors?  The reason I ask is because based solely on available critics’ reviews and AMPAS history I would come to the conclusion that Knightley is a strong contender for a lead actress nod…

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    simone
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    #36374

    Just my humble opinion. Keira did fine, I just felt underwhelmed by the entire film, I’m sad to say.

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    Edwin Drood
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    #36375

    ^ Bummer because I kind of have (had) high hopes for this one.  I’ll certainly want to see it but it’s clear this is not the one to beat for the Oscar (as I thought it might be back when I first heard of it)…

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    simone
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    #36376

    The reviews out of TIFF (Cronenberg’s turf) were very mixed to underwhelmed. It’s just one of those movies you have to see a second time to get something out of it. I’m of the opinion that if you have to watch a film for a second time to make yourself like it, it’s not that good to begin with. But I love Cronenberg and I like all the principle actors, so I will watch it again when it comes on DVD.

    But I suggest anyone who is a Cronenberg fan, and/or a fan of the primary actors, do go see it, so that you can judge for yourself.

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    babypook
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    #36377

    A Dangerous Method

     

    BY ROGER EBERT / December 14, 2011

     

    Cast & Credits
    Freud Viggo Mortensen
    Jung Michael Fassbender
    Sabina Keira Knightley
    Emma Sarah Gadon
    Otto Goss Vincent Cassel

    Sony Pictures Classics presents a film directed by David Cronenberg. Written by Christopher Hampton, based on his play “The Talking Cure” and the book A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr. Running time: 99 minutes. Rated R (for sexual content and brief language).

     

     

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    Psychoanalysis has been so influential at least in part because two of its creators, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, were so devilishly gifted at creating memes. Many of their technical terms are brilliant at arguing for their own validity. Consider inferiority complex. Set aside what is actually meant by that. Everyone upon hearing it instinctively thinks they know what it means, and what’s more, they know someone they can instantly apply it to.

    The “talking cure” and the analyst’s couch are likewise embedded in our mythology, even though modern psychoanalysis has more complex thoughts about them. I confess that the more earnest devotees of the approach (Woody Allen and Howard Stern have daily sessions) may benefit at least partly because it keeps them out of trouble. Whatever we think, there is no doubt that psychoanalysis is now firmly embedded in our consciousness. It provides us with a way of thinking about ourselves. Its validity is beside the point. As a term of reference, it is real.

    David Cronenberg‘s absorbing “A Dangerous Method” involves a few years during which the entire field was largely invented (if I may say so) in the association of Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Jung (Michael Fassbender) and a woman named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), who began as their patient and became their colleague.

    Using a dialogue-heavy approach that’s unusual for Cronenberg, his film is skilled at the way it weaves theory with the inner lives of its characters. We are learning, yet never feel we’re being taught. Freud and Jung seem to be learning as well.

    Mortensen’s performance is masterful in the way it shows Freud as a contained, analytical logician, whose conclusions seem prudent if you grant him his premises. Perhaps his incessant smoking is an indicator of compulsions that his speech, usually calm, conceals. Jung, however, is more unpredictable, and Fassbender shows him as a man whose theories permit him a good deal of improvisation.

    In these baffling days of quantum theory, it may actually be Jung, with his interest in the mystical and the supernatural, who is more modern. His thoughts about archetypes are persuasive enough, but what are we to think of his interest (not mentioned in the film) in the tarot deck? As a person who firmly disbelieves in woo-woo, I couldn’t believe he would subscribe to such flim-flammery, but I dutifully obtained the “Jungian tarot deck,” in which the ancient symbols of the tarot are seen as manifestations of our collective unconscious. In using the cards, I discovered that the juxtaposition of given cards within an arbitrary grid jostled me to think in useful ways. I didn’t believe the cards were speaking to me, but I found them helpful in speaking to myself.

    But I drift. “A Dangerous Method” opens in 1904 with the arrival at Jung’s Zurich clinic of Sabina Spielrein, manic and desperate, struggling with two attendants who try to constrain her. Jung is apparently her last resort. Using Freud’s theories and method, Jung has success in calming her, untwisting her and eventually liberating an intelligent inner mind. At that time, Jung knew Freud only through his writings, but not long after, he traveled to Vienna to meet the great man himself, and their conversations in the film are a model of clarity and sanity; the screenplay by Christopher Hampton is based on his play “The Talking Cure” and the book A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr.

    As Sabina heals and blossoms, an attraction grows between her and Jung, despite Jung’s love for his wife, Emma (Sarah Gadon). They begin an affair. Later, as Freud takes Sabina as a patient, he learns of the affair and uses this information as a weapon in his ideological struggle with Jung. What the movie suggests is that psychoanalysis as a scientific system may have been harmed by the struggle between these two founders, and that Spielrein, indeed, may have arrived at more useful conclusions than the two dueling male approaches.

    It would help to know something about psychoanalysis, or at least be curious to learn, before seeing this film. The movie’s poster suggests a romantic triangle, which is true only in a theoretical sense. The poster design uses the popular “giant heads” format, with Knightley most prominent in front and center, and the smaller Mortensen and Fassbender flanking her. If Jung and Freud could have seen this poster, what uneasy dreams it might have inspired.


     

     

     

     

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    babypook
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    #36378

    The Chicago Tribune

     

    ‘Dangerous Method’ a nuanced Freudian trip – 3 1/2 stars
    Affair provides the spark, and drama delves into the psyches of its leads

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    ‘A Dangerous Method’


    Michael Phillips Movie critic

    December 15, 2011

    The doctor-patient relationship is a sure way to attract an audience’s prurient interest, as long as proper ethical boundaries are ignored. This brings us to a movie by and for grown-ups with actual attention spans: “A Dangerous Method.”

    A satisfying drama of historical speculation, substantially researched and shrewdly dramatized, it concerns the fathers of modern psychoanalysis, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, and their patient Sabina Spielrein, widely believed to be Jung’s lover (and later a psychotherapist). Admirers of director David Cronenberg, whose recent work includes “A History of Violence” and the Russian mob movie “Eastern Promises,” may find themselves disoriented by what does and does not happen in “A Dangerous Method.” The on-screen violence is sparing here. But more than one sort of brutality exists in the world. A sneaky classicist, Cronenberg keeps a tight lid on the characters’ emotions, and to some degree his own technique. Yet this makes the conflicts, when they ignite, all the more interesting.

    Cronenberg and screenwriter Christopher Hampton have opened up Hampton’s 2002 play “The Talking Cure” just enough to take advantage of the location shooting in Vienna and elsewhere. When the scenes move indoors and stay there awhile, the results ebb and flow naturally. The film feels intimate, slightly unnerving — and vividly inhabited, thanks to Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.

    When first we meet Fassbender as Jung, he is a rising star at a Zurich clinic in 1904. Expanding on his mentor Freud’s groundbreaking psychoanalytic techniques, he goes to work on a desperate young Russian patient, Spielrein. The introduction of Knightley in this role practically dares the actress to find somewhere to go afterward; for a while, Knightley’s “hysteric” externals — the twitches of the neck and hands, the furtive, then shrieking vocal jabs — threaten to suffocate the film.

    But the performance does go somewhere, and while it’s odd Hampton doesn’t show much of the transition between the woman we first see and the sharp-witted, sophisticated intellect that comes later, “A Dangerous Method” gives you plenty to absorb in its place. Namely, it is the tale of a forbidden affair. Jung, married with an expanding family, is an attraction/repulsion case unto himself, scared by but drawn to Spielrein’s demons. (They derive from her association, in her childhood, of her father’s beatings with her own sexual arousal.)

    “Only the clash of destructive forces can create something new,” Spielrein says at one point. The affair, and Jung’s unwillingness to come clean about it, leads to a rift between Jung and the steely, dispassionate Freud.

    These three actors, plus a few supporting players (Vincent Cassel plays a particularly tricky patient of Jung’s), fill out a small canvas of betrayal and envy and desire. On this, their 15th project together, Cronenberg and longtime editor Ronald Sanders are wrestling with psyches both analytical and tormented, struggling for control of each new situation. Here and there in “A Dangerous Method,” Cronenberg jumps from a long shot to a close-up on the offbeat, when we don’t expect such a cut. Such flourishes keep the dialogue-intensive scenes nice and taut, and a little bit off-kilter.

    The wonderful thing about Fassbender and Mortensen? Several things, actually. They’re effortlessly convincing in period, and they know how to make recessive characters intriguing. They’re movie stars with very little vanity or interest in winning an audience’s sympathies when such things aren’t warranted. Knightley, who is top-billed, may overdo it at the beginning, but her jagged edges and feral intensity mellow into a portrayal of real complexity.

    So much is addressed here, from anti-Semitism to punitive gender roles to broken hearts. So much, yet so glancingly. “A Dangerous Method” may be the provocative Cronenberg’s least-provoking film. But it’s also one of his strongest and saddest.

    mjphillips@tribune.com

    ‘A Dangerous Method’ — 3 1/2 stars

    MPAA Rating: R (for sexual content and brief language)

    Running time: 1:39

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    babypook
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    #36379

    The Washington Post

     

    A Dangerous Method

     

    Critic Rating: 3 out of 4 stars 

    Freudian slips and Jung lust
    By Ann Hornaday
    Friday, Dec. 16, 2011

    David Cronenberg, who has made a career flouting taboos surrounding sex, death and undifferentiated anxiety, goes to the source of those cardinal themes in “A Dangerous Method.”

    The fact that this elegant, even prim historic drama contains nothing more untoward than a few episodes of naughty bedroom spanking may scandalize fans who have come to associate Cronenberg with edgier visual and thematic fare (those ghastly gynecological instruments in “Dead Ringers”! Jeff Goldblum’s face in “The Fly”! Pretty much every scene in “Crash”!).

    But its very restraint makes “A Dangerous Method” perhaps Cronenberg’s most transgressive movie yet, one in which ideas – rather than their fetishistic signifiers – possess more energy and verve than the most calculated shock effect.

    When the movie opens in 1904, a young woman named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) arrives at a psychiatric hospital in Zurich, contorted in paroxysms of full-blown hysterics.

    She comes under the care of a young psychiatrist named Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) who, following the experimental techniques of a neurologist named Sigmund Freud, begins simply to talk to his patient and engage her in sessions of free association. (The approach has the added advantage of making short work of otherwise ponderous exposition, especially regarding Jung’s new marriage.) He begins to correspond with Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who when they finally meet at his home in Vienna leads his visitor on a conversation that will last 13 hours.

    Of such first dates are great passions born, and “A Dangerous Method” captures Jung and Freud’s budding mutual comprehension with the giddy sweep of a young romance. It may be Jung and Spielrein whose relationship becomes more erotically complicated (see “spanking, naughty”), but the core of Cronenberg’s film – adapted by Christopher Hampton from his play “The Talking Cure” – is the intellectual love story between two men whose six-year collaboration would shake and shape modern thought, but whose temperaments, priorities and class differences would eventually drive them apart.

    So viewers are urged to look past Knightley’s showy performance – which for a while consists primarily of jutting out her chin to make a grotesque mask of her otherwise flawless face – and focus more profitably on Fassbender and Mortensen, who breathe palpable warmth and life into otherwise distant, enshrined figures.

    Coming off an extraordinary year during which he has played a 19th-century British aristo (“Jane Eyre”), a comic book super-villain (“X-Men: First Class”) and a Manhattan sex addict (“Shame”), Fassbender is almost unrecognizable behind glasses and neatly slicked-back hair as the right and proper Jung, for whom the idea of sexual repression is not only healthy but necessary for the equilibrium of Western civilization. (He’ll be challenged in that belief by a patient named Otto Gross, played with manic excess by Vincent Cassel.)

    Mortensen, in the film’s most subtle, canny performance, infuses Freud with unexpected earthiness, wit and knowing wisdom. When the pair come to the United States to present the theories of the still-new psychoanalytical movement, Freud almost looks as if he regrets the coming upheaval. “Do you think they know we’re on our way, bringing them the plague?” he asks Jung. When the latter begins to evince an interest in mysticism and the collective unconscious, Freud reacts with disapproval, tenaciously defending his nascent discipline against anything that might marginalize or threaten its scientific legitimacy.

    Meanwhile, Jung’s relationship with Spielrein follows its own course, with the patient soon becoming a student and a clinician in her own right. Even at the height of their physical involvement, they’re attracted to what’s inside each other’s heads, at one point making their mutual friendship with Freud resemble an intellectual menage-a-trois.

    Mortensen has called “A Dangerous Method” Cronenberg’s “Merchant-Ivory picture,” but it just as often resembles a Woody Allen movie – literate, sophisticated and deeply concerned with sex and manners. (It’s even mordantly funny, as an early scene at the Freud family dinner table attests.)

    But more than Merchant or Ivory or Allen, “A Dangerous Method” bears the stamp of Cronenberg, who with such recent films as “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises” has made his imagery more simple and ascetic, the better to express the betrayals, boundary violations and jealousies roiling just beneath.

    Between the subject matter and modulated, restrained style, “A Dangerous Method” feels like a movie Cronenberg was born to make. But with its primal urges swimming so close to the decorous surface, it also feels like the movie he has been making all along.

    Contains sexual content and brief profanity.

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    Daniel Montgomery
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    #36380

    My Review

    I don’t know how accurately this reflects the real relationship between Freud and Jung, but Cronenberg has made of them a fascinating portrait of repression so deep, it seems, that they developed an entire discipline to think their way around their feelings …The rest of my review

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    #36381

    As an agoraphobic (a condition perhaps treatable by one of Freud or Jung’s disciples?), this is at the top of my must-get-on-disc-to-watch-at-home list.

    David Cronenberg just might be my favorite living director.  His twisted films really speak to me.

    I think DEAD RINGERS just might be one of my favorite films of all time.

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    babypook
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    #36382

    As an agoraphobic (a condition perhaps treatable by one of Freud or Jung’s disciples?), this is at the top of my must-get-on-disc-to-watch-at-home list.

    David Cronenberg just might be my favorite living director.  His twisted films really speak to me.

    I think DEAD RINGERS just might be one of my favorite films of all time.

    Cronenberg is a fiercely talented director and very respected by his peers, but I’d love to see him returning to his roots with some more groundbreaking ‘horror’/sci-fi films ala “Videodrome”, “Scanners”, “The Fly”, “The Dead Zone”, even “Rabid” and “The Brood”.

    Jmho.

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    For me, David Cronenberg has a unique and personal vision across a range of genres.  In addition to the movies you named, I also love:  NAKED LUNCH and CRASH (1996) — a criminally underrated — well, criminally underrated something!  THE DEAD ZONE is a classic that I can watch time and time again.

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    babypook
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    ^
    Both “Naked Lunch” and “Crash” has that Cronenberg edge that nobody else can copy.  I hope you enjoy “A Dangerous Method”. The film has plenty of merit, but I cant back the film for a Genie. Oscar wise? I’ll say costume design. Maybe.

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