A Dangerous Method: "Pleasure Is Never Simple, As You Very Well Know"

Director: David Cronenberg
Writer:    Christopher Hampton 
Starring: Viggo Mortensen
               Michael Fassbender
               Keira Knightley
               Vincent Cassel
               Sarah Gadon
               Andre Hennicke
Rating:    *

Release Date: 10/02/12 

A Dangerous Method is David Cronenberg's new film about the talking cure and therapy, specifically the therapy developed by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung at the very beginning of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, Freud and Jung (Mortensen & Fassbender) managed to bore the socks off of me, nearly to the point of tears. Despite an impressive and talented cast (well, nearly all of them) the film travels at a snails pace, and even the star power of Mortensen and Fassbender couldn't muster up any excitement from me. There is nothing inspiring about the film, and the rhythm and flow are just too slow, slow enough to put some people to sleep.

Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), is a patient who comes to Jung recieve the psychoanalytic treatment that he is famous for giving to patients. Spielrein (and Knightley) is a mess, willful, wild, acting out in ways that seem to be perfect examples of Freud's theories. We soon discover that all of her issues seem to have developed from a bad relationship with her father; as she eventually divulges, she recieves sexual pleasure from being punished, particularly being spanked. I will just take this moment to say that Keira Knightley really is an awful actress; she was gurning and hooting like Courtney Love on a bad day, and despite her explaining that she did research and this is how Sabina acted, I really just found the performance laughable. Also if I have to see her constipated, pouty face again I will scream.

Before long, Jung takes over in the role as spanker, and other sexual things that seem to both pleasure and degrade Sabina. As he discusses his treatment with Freud, his teacher, they begin to fall out over Freud's emphasis on sex as the root of all problems. They also disagree about the propriety of having sex with the people you're trying to cure, with Freud believing it to be very innapropriate.

There's also the issue of Jung's wife, Emma (Gadon), who is well aware of her husband's extra-curricular activity, even as he lumps her with the stress of their children. With Jung being seemingly incapable of realising that what he is doing is wrong and could be rooted to his own personal issues, it seems that the person in real need of therapy is Jung himself.

Most of the conflicts have to do with Jung's crimes against his marriage and the disagreements with Freud about his treatment of and affair with Sabina (who actually went on to become one of the first female psychoanalysts). Freud argues against it as exploitive and damaging to his theories, which are already under attack because of his focus on sexual guilt as a source of psychological distress.

The main issue with the film, apart from how slow it is, is that the scripy is so boring and really isn't compelling at all. Though Cronenberg tries to spice things up with scenes of Jung and Sabina having sexual moments that involve spanking sessions, the give-and-take between Jung and his wife and Jung and Freud are dry and dull, less dialogue and more lecture, meaining the the film never picks up and is completely uninteresting. Add Keira Knightley's bad acting to a dull script, and you have yourself A Dangerous Method.

A Dangerous Method - Trailer


  1. We need M. Night shaymayalan (cant remeber his surname but u know the guy i mean)to create a twist in the end....!


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