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A Dangerous Method | The Clapper Bored

A Dangerous Method

Its tepid reception during the Autumn festivals threw the release of David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method into the realms of movie trivia. If there’s a Michael Fassbender film everyone’s talking about it’s Shame, not this. That said, they’d make an interesting double bill; both dealing with sex and its importance to the fragile human mind. It would be hard to argue, however, that either is a particularly compelling argument, especially as A Dangerous Method is one of the most bizarrely sequential and unenlightening pieces of psychoanalysis possible.

Fassbender plays Carl Jung who is becoming obsessed with his patient, a chinny Keira Knightley. What plays out is a back and forth between Jung and Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen) about the nature of the science that they are developing. The whole thing, however, is weirdly made and seems to have nothing particular to say about anything. Taking the period detail (with some sloppy greenscreen work) out of the equation, what we’re left with is a story that feels like it is a chapter lifted from a longer book, rather than a fully fleshed out tale in its own right.

There’s stuff to admire here. Knightley gives an awkwardly committed performance (although it veers far too close to a RADA graduation piece) and Fassbender is, once again, an actor of superb intensity. Mortensen is a particular delight as the vain, neurotic Freud and you’ll leave the cinema wishing that the whole film could’ve been about Vincent Cassel’s maverick Otto Gross. He gets about 5 minutes of screen time but is, far and away, the most interesting thing in the movie.

A slightly odd misstep from the Canadian maestro. A Dangerous Method is well acted and interesting but so inconsequential that you’ll barely notice yourself watching it.

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2.5
Title: A Dangerous Method
Director: David Cronenberg
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassel
Running Time: About 2 hours
Certificate: 15

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