For years films have been telling us the most dangerous places are outer space, the ocean or any bar in New York City where single women in their 30s frequent. In reality, one of the most frightening places is the human mind, especially one stuck in the throes of madness. ‘A Dangerous Method’ explores the minds of two great men but the diagnosis is not good.
Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) are two prominent experts in the field of psychoanalysis prior to the First World War. Through their conversations and experiences modern psychology is born, but it comes with a cost to their private lives and friendship.
The performances of Fassbender and Mortensen are outstanding and they make a great team. The film shines when they are together and the path of their relationship is filled with tension. Insights into how they formed their theories are interesting because those ideas formed the blueprint for modern psychology. All the hard work of Fassbender and Mortensen is undone by Keira Knightley though, who delivers a ‘Voldermort performance’ – it should never be spoken of again.
Director David Cronenberg shows restraint in his direction compared with the ferocity on display in most of his previous films. The pacing is very slow and having some knowledge of psychology might help you wade through the dialogue that’s full of psyche-jargon.
The film also leaps through large chunks of time and yet the characters don’t seem to grow or move forward in any way. The biggest changes and revelations are compounded in the finale and the first half of the film is a drag.
For the sake of your own mental health ‘A Dangerous Method’ should be avoided, but the Cronenberg curious might want to endure it to prevent any onset of mania. It’s strongly recommended you avoid the film if you’re not a fan of the actress who should never be spoken of again.
‘A Dangerous Method’ is now showing.
The Popcorn Junkie