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Why has this film been a disappointment to so many? Maybe because Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender have built up enough star power by now that audiences follow them wherever they go? Even if that involves a David Cronenberg film? Who himself has tricked the adult moviegoers into believing he was a commercial auteur – after all, he had chases and murder and knife fights and shootings and mobsters and professional agents in his last two well known films, “History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”? And there is Keira Knightley, who tries to establish herself as a character actress, taking daring choices for her roles, and by doing so suggesting to her fans that “A Dangerous Method” is some form of nice costume celebrity biopic? Seems a lot of things come together to create the illusion that this is not a proper Cronenberg movie – allowing people to take a chance to watch it who usually would not go anywhere near his movies.

This is proper Cronenberg, there is no way escaping that fact. He makes films that used to cover the tormented body and soul, and since Dead Ringers this are more interested in the soul, these days the body is often left alone. “A Dangerous Method” is maybe not the most consequent and painful effort in this direction (that prize may go to “Spider”), but it is a very good effort nonetheless. The relationship between Fassbender’s  Jung and Mortensen’s Freud may be floating, pointless, arduous and long-stretched – but that seems to be why it affected especially Jung’s biography so strongly. There is no coherence in the relationship between the persons forming this triangle, and how could there be? A partnership turning into a competition, a doctor-patient relationship turning into a sado-masochistic affair… this is erratic and arbitrary, and it should be. The held-back intensity of the male stars keep up the tension and lend credibility to the claim that this relationship actually is important. The Keira Knightley / Sabina Spielberg character is a bit distracting, on the other hand. She seems overplayed (probably historically accurate), which in the case of Knightley is not a good idea – as she has a history of the terribleness of her first performances to shake off in the first place. Distorting her features the way she does here may not do the credibility of the character a favour. But still, actually she portraits the haunted woman well and watching her getting relief through some Dr-Jung-applied spanking is pretty nice to watch, too. I keep telling her she’s too thin, though, but she won’t listen…

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