A Dangerous Method Review – A Triumph of Imagination

I can assure you that in a 100 years our work will still be rejected.

Columbus, you know, had no idea what country he’d discovered.

Like him, I’m in the dark.

All I know is that I’ve set foot on the shore and the country exists.

– Viggo Mortensen’s Sigmund Freud describing the then nascent discipline of psychoanalysis to Michael Fassbender’s Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method.

Movies have been with us for over a century now.

Yet, the majority of them, particularly the sophomoric Indian variety, are unwatchable horror shows that pander and cater exclusively to the  dimwits and toadies to the stars.

In the rare instance movies are not unwatchable trash they’re hopelessly boring narrating a banal soporific story.

Refreshing Story

In an age when moviegoers are inundated with either ceaseless action or non-stop love, how refreshing then to watch a different film like David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method with a superb cast and a fine story to boot.

Set in the early years of the last century,  the story borrows from real life incidents of extraordinary people like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein and Otto Gross.

The aforesaid were prominent figures in the then new discipline of psychoanalysis.

Familiar Director

Director David Cronenberg is no stranger to us.

Five years back we watched his Eastern Promises (Viggo Mortensen), a film that greatly pleased us.

It was likely our first exposure to Viggo Mortensen and we’ve since grown to admire this fine actor.

So it was not surprising that we desperately searched at four RedBox kiosks before finally locating A Dangerous Method.

Even as we clicked the play button on our remote, we knew a treat lay ahead of us.

But A Dangerous Method surpassed our extravagant expectations.

At its most basic, the movie is about two things.

First, it dwells upon the relationship between Carl Jung (played exceptionally by the Irish actor Michael Fassbender) and his masochistic patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).

Second, the movie examines the relationship between the two giants in early 20th century psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

The aging Freud, father of the then controversial discipline, regards Jung as the torchbearer who will carry the subject further after his death.

Cronenberg focuses more on the relationships (yes, plural) between Jung and Sabrine, which ultimately impacts the regard Freud feels for his fellow traveler in psychoanalysis, Jung.

All four key actors (Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel) deliver exceptional performances.

Michael Fassbender has the maximum screen time and he makes full use of it.

Sure, Vincent Cassel’s role as the psychoanalyst Otto Gross was short but it’s a testament to the character and Cassel’s acting chops that he leaves an impact.

The dialogs are crisp and, on occasion, biting and the photography pleasing.

Oscar winning writer Christopher Hampton had done a remarkable job in adapting the screenplay from his 2002 play The Talking Cure based on John Kerr’s A Most Dangerous Method: The story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein.

If you belong to the minority of movie buffs that believes movies should go beyond mere action or love and tell remarkable tales beautifully then you ought to look for the A Dangerous Method DVD at Netflix or RedBox.

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