Tuesday, January 3, 2012
A Dangerous Method. A
It's easy to eat up David Cronenberg's new movie, A Dangerous Method, as a student of psycho-analysis or as a student of cinema. The movie pays close attention to the details of the mind through its characters, Carl Jung, his patient Sabina Spielrein, and Sigmund Freud, and it's also a showcase of narrative efficiency and both basic and artful composition. The film, as typical with a Cronenberg picture, runs for only 99 minutes, yet, as also a staple in the director's work, tackles substantial material. The marriage between the two would result in a mess in lesser hands, but Cronenberg is a master of exactly what to include in a film to make it effective without dragging. A Dangerous Method is a particularly interesting project for Cronenberg, a film that in a way is a complete expression of all of his cinematic endeavors. We see elements of the physically bizarre found in his early horror films as well as the use of the unexpected to puncture a pedestrian scene. We see Cronenberg's fascination with the mind, the relation of the inner and outer, we see his ability to avoid blueprint plot tricks, and, as I said, we get a great taste of his orderly, efficient style. It's also filled with great performances. Michael Fassbender and Kiera Knightley occupy much of the screen, often in the same scene, and then to complete the story there's Viggo Mortensen (best actor around?) as Freud. The movie isn't about any particular character, and there's not a major arc that propels the story. It's more of a quiet exercise in sophistication, a study of what makes relationships between people soar and fizzle. But like most Cronenberg movies, it's difficult to say exactly what A Dangerous Method is about, because his style and creative instinct do not allow for the usual storytelling templates the enter his sphere. Only one who has seen Cronenberg, and hopefully understands him, should seek out. It's a movie no one but Cronenberg could make, and a movie really only for Cronenberg fans to really feast on.