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Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A young woman's (Keira Knightley) nervous breakdown in the early part of the 20th century and her treatment and recovery triggers a schism in the relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). This fascinating look at what essentially is the birth of modern psychoanalysis is based on a true story but obviously with much speculation rather than fact. Based on a play by Christopher Hampton (who did the screenplay) and a non fiction book A MOST DANGEROUS METHOD, director David Cronenberg is relatively restrained from his usual excesses (even the sadomasochism elements seem perfunctory) but he invests the story with a solid base from which he explores the essential split between Freudian and Jungian psychology and the personal dynamics of the world's most famous psychoanalysts. But if the film belongs to anyone, it's Keira Knightley in a fierce performance as young Russian Jewess who goes from a near hopeless madwoman but emerged into one of the first female psychologists. Handsomely shot by Peter Suchitzky (MARS ATTACKS) with an effective score by Howard Shore. With Vincent Cassel and Sarah Gadon.

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