Friday, February 17, 2012

A Dangerous Method

In 1904 Switzerland, a beautiful medical student (Keira Knightley) who has just had a psychotic break is sent to be treated by Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender). Using methods developed by his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Jung makes great progress but finds himself drawn to the masochistic woman and begins an intense physical relationship with her. As Jung continues his tempestuous affair with his patient while laying the groundwork for psychotherapy with his hero, both relationships threaten to boil over and explode. "A Dangerous Method" is a sumptuous and incredibly well staged period piece from David Cronenberg, which is somewhat different from what we've come to expect from the cult Canadian director, altough there are still a few bizarre moments sprinkled here and there. Fassbender, who has emerged as a major film presence within the past year or so, gives an indelible, restrained performance as the famous Swiss psychiatrist. Knightley has a difficult task, and while her performance has been criticized by some, her contribution to the film is considerable in my opinion. Mortensen, reuniting with Cronenberg for the third time, gives a fantastic supporting turn as the father of psychiatry and Vincent Cassel also makes a brief but welcomed appearance as a polygamist doctor forced into Jung's help. "A Dangerous Mind" is a refined and stimulating film that offers a great showcase for its stars.