A Dangerous Method
I would have been surprised if A Dangerous Method – about the rivalry between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, with the mediocre Keira Knightley playing the love interest – had been any good, but it’s always a shame when such a renowned director as David Cronenberg delivers something so banal. Adapted by Christopher Hampton from his own stage play, the film stars Michael Fassbender as Jung, who helped pioneer psychoanalysis with his mentor, Freud (Viggo Mortensen, the only good thing in the film). In this interpretation, Jung is an insipid, upper-class man, shackled by turn-of-the-century mores. He eventually breaks his ethical code when he starts having sex with his patient, Sabina Spielrein, a woman who suffers from ‘hysteria’ before being ‘cured’ and becoming a psychotherapist in her own right.
Beaten by her father as a child, Sabina has a thing for authority figures and masochism – basically, she likes being spanked, and Jung, once he gives in to his baser urges, seems to have no problem fulfilling her fantasies. If these scenes were meant to be titillating, Cronenberg failed; the underwhelming, mechanical film is mostly forgettable, except for Knightley’s tortured, painful acting. The film has received glowing reviews from other (mostly male) critics who have found something meaningful in the film that I somehow missed; personally, I can’t think of anything, except a perverse curiosity, to recommend it.
Extra gripe from Greg Klymkiw: Sadly, no proper views of open palms connecting with buttocks or slap imprints on said buttocks are afforded to us.