A Dangerous Method: Will David Cronenberg Fans Like His New Movie?
09.02.11 by Ryan
Canadian director David Cronenberg began his career with surreal, sci-fi horror movies like 1981's Videodrome. Lately, he's been concentrating on dramatic thrillers like 2005's A History of Violence, 2007's Eastern Promises, and his newest entry, A Dangerous Method. The movie, set in World War I–era Vienna, explores the tangled relationship between psychologist Dr. Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who both fall under the spell of the troubled Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).
A Dangerous Method is currently touring the festival circuit, premiering this week at the Venice Film Festival. Cronenberg told Variety that his own fans may not like the movie even if he doesn't think the movie is a "big creative departure."
I think fans of The Fly (1986) will not necessarily automatically love A Dangerous Method, but fans of Freud and Jung — they will (love it). And they probably have more fans than I do.
Cronenberg calls the movie his "first straight biopic." His biopic is the first, though, to focus on the obscure Spielrein. "There are several things, in what became known as psychoanalysis, that really came from her," explained the director, who says that the theories of Freud are becoming popular again.
The Freudian concept of the unconscious has had huge resurgence, because when they do brain scans they see that what Freud was suggesting really does hold up.
For those worried that Cronenberg has lost his edge, the international trailer for the movie still seemed to include perverse sexual situations — which was not exactly far-fetched considering some of the theories espoused by the psychiatrists. The U.S. trailer is now online, and is mostly the same, only without those sexual moments.
Reviews for A Dangerous Method are already making their way online and, so far, have been very positive. Variety says "precision defines every aspect of the production" — which is described as "an elegant, coolly restrained account of the friendship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung." THR called the movie "precise, lucid, and thrillingly disciplined," while The Telegraph called it "talky, cerebral, and intensely complex."
Based on the 2002 stage play The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons), which in turn was based on the 1993 non-fiction novel A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr, the movie will open in limited release on November 23. Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and Sarah Gadon (Cronenberg's upcoming Cosmopolis) co-star.