A Dangerous Method

Film

Drama

A Dangerous Method.jpg

A Dangerous Method

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Mon Feb 6 2012

The early years of the twentieth century in Austria and Switzerland are the theatre for this untypical, restrained drama from David Cronenberg, working from Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of his play about the friendship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and the role in their lives of Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley, pictured), a mental patient-turned-psychoanalyst. The theatrical origins of ‘A Dangerous Method’ are evident in the script’s series of conversations, interrupted by walks outdoors and a spot of spanking à deux. The Cronenbergian blood might be limited to a close-up of Spielrein’s underwear after Jung takes her virginity, but if we’re wondering where ‘A Dangerous Method’ fits in the director’s career, maybe we could see this as a late-career primer for newcomers to the Canadian’s heady and subversive filmography?

There’s a hint of Magritte in the film’s colours and how Jung and Freud’s smart clothes and the film’s near-prissy production design are mere fronts to the discussion of stormy ideas. There are flashes of humour, such as when Cronenberg cuts from a chat between Jung and Freud to a table of kids, but mostly the look and feel of ‘A Dangerous Method’ is conservative and talky. This feels appropriate, if limited, but more problematic is the loss of focus on ideas later on as the script takes more of an interest in Jung and Spielrein’s affair. The most compelling scenes are those between Mortensen and Fassbender, while Knightley gives a fair performance but lumbers herself with a distracting accent, and her gurning in the early scenes may be too much for some to bear.

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Release details

UK release:

Fri Feb 10, 2012

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|25
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Jan

I was surprised that the discussion of sexuality presented in this film did not seem to cover the issue which faced most women at that time - the risk of getting pregnant. More generally I have always wondered why Freud did not seem to consider this aspect of the topic. Perhaps it reflects the male dominated nature of psychoanalysis at the time - and now if this film in anything to go by. It seemed a very male view of its subject.

Rob

I really don't know what everyone is raving on about....oh that's right, I wouldn't, because I walked out half way through the movie. Boring, pointless and monotone.

Vacation247

I think this is a departure for Cronenberg in that it's an elegant exploration of the human mind. Those expecting some kind of biological horror will be disappointed, but I was immersed in this incredibly deliberate telling of three people who happened to meet at a crucial time in their lives and work. I think it knocks every other period film I've seen into a cocked hat. Oh, and Fassbender is peerless - a true chameleon.

Vacation247

I think this is a departure for Cronenberg in that it's an elegant exploration of the human mind. Those expecting some kind of biological horror will be disappointed, but I was immersed in this incredibly deliberate telling of three people who happened to meet at a crucial time in their lives and work. I think it knocks every other period film I've seen into a cocked hat. Oh, and Fassbender is peerless - a true chameleon.

paul

I think the movie falls short on what one could expect in many regards. The plot is a wikipedia-what-happened type of thing, the acting is quite mediocre, with a peak in Vincent Cassel, in my opinion, and an embarassing performance of Knightley, whose OTT screaming and ridiculous accent are just not right. Both the main actors are forgettable by large, and the Cronenberg signature style not recognizable.

Alfredo

A very interesting movie based on a true story that cannot be told otherwise. K.K. acts very well.

Tom

Really surprised by this film. Okay, it's not The Fly but it IS a really interesting insight into the birth of psychoanalysis and two men who literally changed the way we think. I took my parents (not your average Cronenberg fans!) and they went nuts for it. Plus, who doesn't want to see Michael Fassbender spanking Keira Knightley!?

Tom

Really surprised by this film. Okay, it's not The Fly but it IS a really interesting insight into the birth of psychoanalysis and two men who literally changed the way we think. I took my parents (not your average Cronenberg fans!) and they went nuts for it. Plus, who doesn't want to see Michael Fassbender spanking Keira Knightley!?

Very Good

Liked this a lot. Yes it's slow burning, but interesting, amusing, alarming - best bits were Freud and Jung's meetings - Keira Knightly doesn't bug me for some reason. Thought she was fine. So, I agree with the reviewer on those points, except thought the 'gurning' was acceptable, though funny.

Lina

If you want to be stimulated by something other than big-budget action movies, then this gorgeously shot film by master of control David Cronenberg offers us a view of a fascinating meeting of the minds, not to mention a spot of spanking by the divine Michael Fassbender. Oscar winning writer Christopher Hampton makes a meal out of this explosive combo. Not boring, but brilliant. This is a film for people who want to think.

Lina

If you want to be stimulated by something other than big-budget action movies, then this gorgeously shot film by master of control David Cronenberg offers us a view of a fascinating meeting of the minds, not to mention a spot of spanking by the divine Michael Fassbender. Oscar winning writer Christopher Hampton makes a meal out of this explosive combo. Not boring, but brilliant. This is a film for people who want to think.

Jay

A fantastic film. Excellent performances from the three leads - Kinghtley has indeed never been better. The cool, detached style matches the clinical nature of Freud and Jung's observations about sexuality. It's subtle, complex and gripping from start to finish.

Jay

A fantastic film. Excellent performances from the three leads - Kinghtley has indeed never been better. The cool, detached style matches the clinical nature of Freud and Jung's observations about sexuality. It's subtle, complex and gripping from start to finish.

Sutton

An interesting film, despite my mis-givings about seeing a film with Knightley in (the gurning and accent were irritating, really she should be seen and not heard). Fassbender and Mortensen were good.

Matt

Saw it last night. Great film with amazing performances. Wasn't always fan of KK but she's brilliant in this.

Matt

Saw it last night. Great film with amazing performances. Wasn't always fan of KK but she's brilliant in this.

Mabel

I thought the film was exquisite, an incredible insight into these two good doctors and their great minds. It is a different film from Cronenberg, but no less compelling.

Mabel

I thought the film was exquisite, an incredible insight into these two good doctors and their great minds. It is a different film from Cronenberg, but no less compelling.

CDH

I enjoyed this film very much and give it 4 stars. Knowing only a bit about Freud, Jung, and Freudian psychology in general, it was interesting to see the ideas and arguments played out. I thought Kiera Knightly was believable in terms of her acting and her accent, and her hysteria was frightening and intense. The settings were beautiful and I enjoyed wallowing in that. These people with their outrageous ideas were middle class, privileged and affluent by most standards of the time, although Freud was dependent on his patients for a living and Jung had the independent wealth to do as he wished. I think it's interesting that a woman of that era was able to move from therapy to becoming a qualified medic, and thought the few references to the Jewish/Protestant issue were intriguing, especially in view of the terrible tragedy which was to unfold in Europe over the next 40 years or so. The muted and controlled tones of the fallout between Freud and Jung were curious; did they never shout at each other? I wish I could be more dispassionate when I disagree with folk. The film told an interesting story and left me wanting to know more about these influential people and their ideas.

stevhors

This film is adapted from a stage play and boy does it show. For me the film never really took off despite excellent performances from Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender. It left me thinking about Ken Russel's film Mahler which is full of cinematic excitement and imagery surely some effort could have been made to liven things up around the dream scenes, which are recounted in dreary monologue, or the main protagonists' S+M proclivities. An opportunity missed.

mirkle

I really wanted to like this film but about two thirds in I was just bored. I am not sure what's wrong with it, but I got the impression that they got half way through the process and thought fuck it that's enough, we'll just splice what we've got so far together - three stars and a great director's name should do the trick. It's like something made for TV - that bench outside Speilrein's house seems to get used a lot. The poor woman who plays Jung's wife gets given the emotional depth of a character in Enid Blyton. And like many others, I found Knightley's gurning maddening - particularly as there was no introduction to her character.