A Dangerous Method

Directed by David Cronenberg
FACT Picturehouse
From 10th February 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

A movie revolving around the birth of psychoanalysis does not sound like an enriching experience at the cinema but director David Cronenberg, usually involved in producing horror-linked films, has successfully brought Christopher Hampton's play 'The Talking Cure' to the big screen.

There are three main characters at the heart of the film: Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein - given her track record as an actress surprisingly portrayed well by Keira Knightley.

She plays a Russian afflicted by major neurotic problems, notably as a result of an abusive relationship with her father. She is referred to Jung's psychiatric clinic in Zurich, where he becomes highly intrigued by her mnetal condition and also becomes emotionally attached to her. He is eager to use her as a guinea pig in applying Freud's newly evolved 'talking cure'

He seeks the assistance of his mentor Freund, based in Vienna, to help him further analyse her psyche, while at the same time he asks Jung to treat his patient, the sexually supercharged psychologist Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel).

There is a lot of dialogue in the film, not surprisingly given that it was originally performed on stage, but it never becomes too ponderous or resorts to psycho-babble. In essence, Freud is adamant that sex is the root of mental illness and neurosis, whereas Jung has more outlandish theories, encompassing telepathy and various other forms of psychic phenomena.

Jung's treatment of Spelrein results in her shedding a great deal of her mental dilemmas - being spanked by him while staring into a large mirror not being one of them! - to such an extext that she ibecomes his lover and is then taken under his wing as a pupil, helping him in his research work. She later builds a career in mental analysis but was executed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed