Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Dangerous Method

Just viewed for the second time David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method (2011). The film brings the era alive in a way that texts cannot (although the book from which the film is drawn seems worth reading). The Oedipal tension between Freud and Jung is extraordinarily well done. Both men are portrayed as the flawed geniuses they were and their skills as psychologists are well displayed. We even get to witness an administration of Jung's Word Association Test (and learn why one should never administer a psychological test to one's spouse).
 
 

Vincent Cassell plays Otto Gross, who I admit I had never heard of before but who apparently was quite an interesting fellow. Keira Knightly is very convincing as Jung's disturbed young patient, Sabrina Spielrein. It is interesting to consider to what extent the victimized Sabrina is also a manipulative "danger to others."

After discovering a movie that I like, I have found it very useful to "follow the director" as a guide of what to watch next. But if you liked A Dangerous Method, be aware that David Cronenburg's sobriquet is the "King of Venereal Horror" (I'm guessing from the Jeremy Irons "mad identical twin gynecologists" movie, Dead Ringers). The Fly included some of the most revolting scenes I have ever witnessed. Naked Lunch doesn't exactly have "mass appeal" (although it does have the late, great Roy Scheider). But I recall History of Violence as being good, with an excellent cameo by William Hurt. I will probably try to see Eastern Promises sometime soon.

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