NNarrative Feature Competition
A Dangerous Method
A Dangerous MethodOriginal Title: A Dangerous Method
Director: David Cronenberg
United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Ireland | English
Much of David Cronenberg’s work is concerned with the dark chaos of human desire and the ways in which it manifests itself beneath the rigid confines of civilized society. Some of his films explore this theme in visceral, grotesque ways (as in The Brood
, and The Fly
); others from a more twisted psychological perspective (Dead Ringers
); still others using the trope of a hidden past or identity (A History of Violence
and Eastern Promises
Here, Cronenberg dresses things up a little differently. A Dangerous Method
looks like a period piece that somewhat cheekily considers how the schism between the selfish and the social informs an affair between psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his patient, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) – while Sigmund Freud himself (Viggo Mortensen) looks on. But the film is in fact a sly and very clever critique of these giants of psychoanalysis – and by extension, of the method itself.
Uptight, carefully mannered, Jung and Freud speak of their practice as though they are brave pioneers, hacking new paths through the jungle that is the human psyche. But as Cronenberg portrays it, they are simply caught up in a rigid construct that is informed by their own neuroses and narrow, bourgeois worldview. When they are unable, each in his own way, to absorb the behavior of the hysteric Spielrein, their friendship falters and their confidence wanes.
After the film, ask yourself this question: Would you want these men messing in your head, helping rid you of your weighty psychic baggage? A dangerous method indeed.
– Nicholas DaviesContains: Adult themes