#10 (Third Series) A Dangerous Method (The Athena)

For a few seconds near the beginning of A Dangerous Method, it seems as if Cronenberg’s Grand Guignol mockery of movies as we know them might be back. The 1970s pan-European art house style seems like a pleasant enough trashing of Visconti’s Death In Venice, and casting Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein, Jung’s hysteric, then forcing her to act out full arch hysteria from Characot photographs using only her chin seems like near genius. The latter might have been even more amusing if Julia Roberts had been cast as originally planned. As the film grinds on, one realizes Cronenberg doesn’t mean any of this to be funny. He means to show us that he’s really done his psychoanalytic homework like a good schoolboy — that homework seems to have consisted mostly of consulting the films rather bland source texts: A play called The Talking Cure and a long, boring semi novelization of freud’s relationship with Jung called A Most Dangerous Method: the story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein. Cronenberg even has Vigo Vigo Morgenstern Jew it up and do a passable job of bringing out Freud’s bourgeois character, something that’s been done by, roughly, everyone whose through about Freud since 1970. He ends up handing in a dull, unimaginative, yet pretentious assignment.

 

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