DVD Reviews

A Dangerous Method – Blu-ray Review

By Jeff Swindoll Mar 28, 2012, 19:19 GMT

A Dangerous Method – Blu-ray Review

Experimenting with a bold new method of treating mental illness, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) engages madhouse patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) in a series of focused conversations. This seemingly successful "talking cure" brings Jung into the company of the man who inspired it, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), which results in a triangle of psychological complexities and sexual temptations. David Cronenberg\'s provocative period drama co-stars Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon. ...more

Director David Cronenberg explores the beginnings of psychoanalysis.  He masterfully guides his cast through their paces and no one makes any slips – Freudian or otherwise.  It’s quite a different turn from Cronenberg, but a film that delves into the human mind. 

Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) takes on deranged Russian patient Sabrina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).  He begins to treat her with new methods that he has read about from Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and she begins to recover.  Jung is able to actually travel to Vienna to consult with Freud.  Sabrina recovers enough that Jung takes her on as a research assistant, but he also begins to develop feelings for her yet his morality keeps him from acting on them.

Freud recommends patient Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) start seeing Jung, but Gross’ influence makes Jung act on his feelings towards Spielrein.  This will begin a rift between Freud and Jung as well as a lasting effect on Jung’s psyche. 

I’ve often thought that some people study to be psychiatrists so that they can engage in self-diagnosis.  Sometimes some students are as disturbed as their patients. 

Certainly the exploration of the mind can be fraught with dangers.  Do you adhere to morality or do you do as thou wilt (modern translation: if it feels good do it)?  What we see in Cronenberg’s film is two varying ways of dealing with psychiatry.  As well as seeing that actions, differences, and ego get in the way of pure scientific discovery.

Freud stanchly sees everything as stemming from the sexual and Jung wants to innovate and branch out into other areas that might seem supernatural.  And yes, Mr. Freud, sex gets in the way as well.  Both sides are ably represented in the acting field by Fassbender and Mortensen.  I kept forgetting that it was Mortensen after a while since he disappeared into Freud. 

Knightley also throws off some of her glamour to play the disturbed person that eventually grows into a professional.  The film evokes the time period and adds humanity to the very human figures that may be lionized in the field.  Cronenberg helms this period piece with a steady hand, breathes life into the characters, and you see his maturing as a filmmaker. 

A Dangerous Method is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.85:1).  Special features, high definition unless noted, include a commentary from director Cronenberg, the 8 minute “Making of a Dangerous Method” (standard definition), the 30 minute AFI Masters Seminar with Cronenberg, and the 2 minute theatrical trailer. 

A Dangerous Method humanizes the founders of a field that deals with the intricacies of the human mind.  It’s a fascinating look at the beginnings of the field as well as of the events that shaped the men and women behind it.  It’s also fascinating to see the maturation of Cronenberg as a filmmaker. 

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Further Reading on M&C

David Cronenberg Biography - - David Cronenberg Movies -
Keira Knightley Biography - - Keira Knightley Movies -
Michael Fassbender Biography - - Michael Fassbender Movies -
Viggo Mortensen Biography - - Viggo Mortensen Movies -

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