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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:54 pm

http://www.reelz.com/movie-news/11659/a-dangerous-method-will-david-cronenberg-fans-like-his-new-movie/

a-dangerous-method-will-david-cronenberg-fans-like-his-new-movie
A Dangerous Method: Will David Cronenberg Fans Like His New Movie?
Posted 09.02.11 by Ryan

Canadian director David Cronenberg began his career with surreal, sci-fi horror movies like 1981's Videodrome. Lately, he's been concentrating on dramatic thrillers like 2005's A History of Violence, 2007's Eastern Promises, and his newest entry, A Dangerous Method. The movie, set in World War I–era Vienna, explores the tangled relationship between psychologist Dr. Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who both fall under the spell of the troubled Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).

A Dangerous Method is currently touring the festival circuit, premiering this week at the Venice Film Festival. Cronenberg told Variety that his own fans may not like the movie even if he doesn't think the movie is a "big creative departure."

I think fans of The Fly (1986) will not necessarily automatically love A Dangerous Method, but fans of Freud and Jung — they will (love it). And they probably have more fans than I do.

Cronenberg calls the movie his "first straight biopic." His biopic is the first, though, to focus on the obscure Spielrein. "There are several things, in what became known as psychoanalysis, that really came from her," explained the director, who says that the theories of Freud are becoming popular again.

The Freudian concept of the unconscious has had huge resurgence, because when they do brain scans they see that what Freud was suggesting really does hold up.

For those worried that Cronenberg has lost his edge, the international trailer for the movie still seemed to include perverse sexual situations — which was not exactly far-fetched considering some of the theories espoused by the psychiatrists. The U.S. trailer is now online, and is mostly the same, only without those sexual moments.

Reviews for A Dangerous Method are already making their way online and, so far, have been very positive. Variety says "precision defines every aspect of the production" — which is described as "an elegant, coolly restrained account of the friendship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung." THR called the movie "precise, lucid, and thrillingly disciplined," while The Telegraph called it "talky, cerebral, and intensely complex."

Based on the 2002 stage play The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons), which in turn was based on the 1993 non-fiction novel A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr, the movie will open in limited release on November 23. Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and Sarah Gadon (Cronenberg's upcoming Cosmopolis) co-star.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:56 pm

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/reviews/first-night-a-dangerous-method-venice-film-festival-2348399.html

First Night: A Dangerous Method, Venice Film Festival

(Rated 4/ 5 )

Freud takes on Jung – but Knightley wins by a head

Reviewed by Geoffrey Macnab

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Keira Knightley leaves a press conference in Venice yesterday, followed by A Dangerous Method co-star Viggo Mortensen

Keira Knightley leaves a press conference in Venice yesterday, followed by A Dangerous Method co-star Viggo Mortensen

A Dangerous Method, scripted by Christopher Hampton from his play The Talking Cure (itself adapted from the book A Most Dangerous Method by John Kerr), is a deceptive affair.

It seems strait-laced and conventional by comparison with David Cronenberg's earlier movies – a handsomely shot costume drama set in Zurich and Vienna on the eve of the First World War.

However, scrape a little beneath the surface and you quickly realise that the Canadian is back exploring very familiar themes – hysteria, disgust, sexual and professional jealousy. For all its formal restraint, the film is just as subversive and as disquieting as predecessors such as Crash and The Naked Lunch.

The film boasts two assured performances from Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen and a very brave, if uneven one, from Keira Knightley in her most challenging role to date.

Cronenberg's subject is the birth of psychoanalysis. The film chronicles the friendship and rivalry between Carl Jung (Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Mortensen). The key character is Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), an 18-year-old Russian diagnosed with hysteria.

Jung tries Freud's "talking cure" on her. He discovers that she was abused by her father and that she is a masochist, who takes extreme sexual pleasure in humiliation.

Spielrein is first seen being whisked away against her will to the sanatorium. She is writhing and twitching and looks like a vampire or witch being dragged to the stake.

Her anxieties are expressed in her wild and incontinent physical behaviour. Knightley portrays her as a quivering, hyper-sensitive hysteric. Her behaviour is in very marked contrast to that of the stolid doctors who tend her. Jung is "treating" Sabina but as he applies Freud's theories, his own assumptions about monogamy and repression are soon challenged. Vincent Cassel has a colourful cameo as Otto Gross, a fellow psychiatrist who is sick himself.

Gross is gleefully amoral. "Never repress anything" is his motto. Partly under his influence, Jung – who is growing increasingly distant from his pregnant wife – begins a sado-masochistic affair with Sabina.

Films featuring well-known historical figures can often seem arch and self-conscious in the extreme. Here, Mortensen has such immediate authority and swagger as Freud that we don't question his portrayal.

He is a sardonic and witty cigar-chewing patriarch, encouraging but also gently mocking Jung, whom he sees initially as a protégé. Fassbensder skilfully conveys inner doubts, his growing mysticism, his lust and his love for Sabina without ever showing any overt emotions at all.

Knightley has the most difficult role, playing a woman who is extremely highly strung. Her performance is courageous and moving.

Cronenberg's achievement is to have made "an action movie with ideas". The film may be very heavy on talk indeed but when the dialogue is as sharp and double edged as it is here, that is not a problem.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:57 pm

http://www.bangkokpost.com/blogs/index.php/2011/09/03/in-venice-jung-freud-and-the-glory-of-pr?blog=69

Saturday, September 03, 2011
In Venice, Jung, Freud, and Glory of Prostitutes

Posted by Kong Rithdee

Venice, Sept 2

A wounded physician is the best physician, said Carl Jung. And thus a madwoman makes a perfect psychiatrist -- someone who's gone over the threshold and come back, clutching the precious knowledge of which those who remain safely on this side would never know.

Or so it is sugested in "A Dangerous Method", the new David Cronenberg's film screened in the Venice Competition this morning. It proves to be a less dangerous head-trip than many might've expected, but still a tough, dialogue-heavy, letter-reciting drama about the early days of psychoanalysis and the legendary rivalry between Freud and Jung. Viggo Mortensen plays the cigar-smoking Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender is the pipe-sucking Jung -- but the wildcard here is Keira Knightley, who plays Sabina Spielrein, the deranged, masochistic Russian girl who's initially treated by Jung before leading her good doctor along the path of sexual exploration. As the film suggests, the madwoman-turned-shrink is a major catalyst to the two doctors/theorists (especially to Jung, haunted by a rigid family life and his belief in the metaphysics), and the history of psychoanalysis owes her a great deal.

It's a joke in the film that Freud's staunch belief in the power of sexual drive has arrived from the fact that he doesn't get any.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:02 pm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/tiff/news-and-buzz/cronenbergs-a-dangerous-method-gets-warm-reviews-in-venice/article2152167/

Director David Cronenberg and Keira Knightley attend the "A Dangerous Method" premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 2. - Director David Cronenberg and Keira Knightley attend the "A Dangerous Method" premiere at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 2. | Getty Images
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TIFF 2011
Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ gets warm reviews in Venice
LIAM LACEY
Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, Sep. 02, 2011 3:52PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Sep. 02, 2011 3:54PM EDT

Canadian director David Cronenberg’s new film about the birth pangs of psychoanalysis, A Dangerous Method, screened at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday. Since then, it’s been praised in early reviews as “elegant and restrained” and “precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined” – but the real buzz is about Keira Knightley’s performance as a young woman suffering from psychotic hysteria.

The film follows the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his protégé, Carl Jung (played, respectively, by Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender). Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein, who came under Jung’s care as a teenager and had a love affair with him before launching her own career as a psychoanalyst.

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy praises “Knightley's excellent work” in an extreme performance: “Screaming and alarmingly jutting out her jaw in extremis, Knightley starts at a pitch so high as to provoke fear of where she'll go from there. Fortunately, the direction is down.”

Likewise, Xan Brooks in The Guardian writes that Knightley provides “the Oscar bait” for the film.

But Justin Chung, in a generally positive review for Variety, described Knightley’s performance as a potential problem area: “The spectacle of the usually refined actress flailing about, taking on a grotesque underbite, and stammering and wailing in a Russian accent is perhaps intended to clash with her co-stars' impeccable restraint, but does so here in unintended ways.”

He goes on to write that “Mortensen's Freud, a sardonic, ineffably sinister presence who rarely raises his voice above a silky-smooth purr, calmly steals the picture.”

David Gritten, meanwhile, comes down in the middle in his review for The Telegraph, describing Knightley’s performance as “so ferocious in those early scenes that it seems likely to become the film’s main talking point.”

The film is based on Christopher Hampton's 2002 stage play The Talking Cure, which in turn was based on John Kerr’s 1993 non-fiction study, The Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud and Sabina Spielrein, which described new revelations from boxes of Spielrein’s papers and letters, discovered in the 1970s and 1980s.

Cronenberg’s film will also be screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, opening next week.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:04 pm

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2091597,00.html

Odd Couples at Venice: Freud & Jung, Wallis & Edward, Cronenberg & Madonna
By Richard Corliss Friday, Sept. 02, 2011

For a film festival that celebrates the vivid image, this year's Venice has been strangely stagebound. After George Clooney's The Ides of March and Roman Polanski's Carnage, both based on plays, comes David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, from the Christopher Hampton play The Talking Cure, depicting the rivalry of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud as they wrestled over the fundamentals of psychoanalysis. Also on display is W.E., a bio-pic about the love affair of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. This sorry effort was directed and co-written by Madonna — the Lady Gaga of the '80s — but it's got the florid language and rigid schematics of a flop play that closed in Pittsburgh.

Jung (Michael Fassbender) was a radiant acolyte of Freud (Viggo Mortensen) when he took the case of Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a brilliant young Russian Jew tortured by her father's abuse and the strange sexual pleasures it gave her; later she became one of the first prominent women psychoanalysts. Accepting historian Peter Loewenberg's argument that Jung broke the physician's covenant and became Spielrein's lover, Hampton and Cronenberg build an affair no less iconoclastic than that of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. A gentle but strict Swiss Protestant with a quiet, loving, wealthy wife (the excellent Sarah Gadon), Jung wrestles his sexual demons — giving Sabina the rough sex she thinks she wants — while struggling to break from Freud's prime tenet, that childhood sexual repression is the root of adult neuroses. Like Sabina, Carl must figuratively kill the father figure to achieve emotional independence. (When Two Brilliant Minds Met a 'Miracle Drug')

The first trauma Sabina describes to Jung — of feeling something slimy, like a mollusk, against her back as she masturbates — could be an image from any prime Cronenberg film, like Shivers or Rabid or Naked Lunch, where sexual anxieties manifest themselves as monster slugs or cockroaches. The director also has occasional fun with Freud's omnipresent cigar: as he and Jung sail into New York Harbor on their first visit to America, the cigar seems to penetrate the robes of the Statue of Liberty in a most vulnerable spot. And in Otto Gross, an Austrian psychoanalyst who represents the libido in all its father-defying cunning, Cronenberg seizes onto a figure of the most riotous, appealing anarchy. Joyfully incarnated by Vincent Cassel, who steals every scene he's in, Gross is a madman one would eagerly accompany on the road to Hell.

Mostly, though, A Dangerous Method is a pearly showcase for its urgent dialectic, elevated dialogue and world-class stars. It is rightly content to embody Jung's agonized sobriety and Freud's courtly, corrosive wit. Mortensen has never seemed so relaxed in a difficult role; he is the charming papa one hates to overthrow but knows one must. Fassbender, the imperiously romantic Rochester of Jane Eyre, tamps down his usual steely sensuality to make flesh of the conflicts a principled man feels for a troubled Circe. (The All-TIME 100 Movies, including David Cronenberg's The Fly)

Knightley has trouble with her character's early extremes and Russian accent — the viewer sees not through her into Sabina but rather the strenuous attempt of Keira Knightley to impersonate a lunatic saint. Later, as Sabina gains clarity and control, Knightley makes a lovely lover for Carl. One stately overhead shot slowly closes in on the two of them lying in furtive rapture on a sailboat (that his wife has just bought him). They might be in their wedding bed, or a dual coffin, and it wouldn't matter to this intoxicated couple. For the moment, passion is its own death and transfiguration.

Freud or Jung might have wished to put the director of W.E. on the couch for some serious counseling. A kind of transatlantic, cross-generational Julie & Julia, the movie cross-cuts between vignettes in the sad, romantic life of the real Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the twice-divorced American for whose love Edward (James D'Arcy) renounced the British throne in 1936, and scenes set in 1990s Manhattan of the fictional Wally (Abbie Cornish), who is obsessed with her near-namesake. Breaking the confines of her own loveless, suffocating marriage, Wally attends a Sotheby's auction of Simpson memorabilia — where, contrary to all auction-house protocol, she is allowed to handle the artifacts — and falls for Evgeny, a Russian security guard (Oscar Isaac). Since Wally is Wallis's avatar, the sensitive brute Evgeny must be her prince charming. But her closest encounter is with the ghost of the imperious Wallis, who's none too pleased to be raised from the dead for a chat with a groupie. "This is not some kind of fairy tale," the Duchess huffs, slapping Wally. "Wake up!"
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:05 pm

http://broadwayworld.com/article/FLASH-FRIDAY-Cronenbergs-A-DANGEROUS-METHOD-20110902

FLASH FRIDAY: Cronenberg's A DANGEROUS METHOD
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Friday, September 2, 2011; Posted: 05:09 PM - by Pat Cerasaro
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Today we are continuing our series on theatrically-related 2012 Oscar hopefuls with a look at the just-released trailer for David Cronenberg’s new film A DANGEROUS METHOD starring Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel. Based on a play about the friendship, lives and studies of scientists/philosophers/doctors Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and how it pertains to a female patient, Sabina, penned by DANGEROUS LIASONS and ATONEMENT scribe Christopher Hampton, titled THE TALKING CURE, Hampton also penned the screenplay for this film adaptation, which also credits John Kerr’s examination of Freud and Jung’s studies and personal lives, A MOST DANGEROUS METHOD. Given the films R-rating, Cronenberg will evidently be given full reign to follow the story’s explorations of the dark recesses of human psychology and how it manifests in our sexuality. While Cronenberg has repeatedly proven his prowess with intimate character studies in recent years with his superb string of dramas such as SPIDER starring Ralph Fiennes, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE with Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello and, most recently, the unforgettable EASTERN PROMISES with Mortensen and Naomi Watts, A DANGEROUS METHOD is his first bid for Oscar gold this decade and for the first time in his forty year career he may finally be awarded for his cinematic legacy given this perfect storm of his idiosyncratic cinematic sensibilities married to charismatic lead performances by four of the hottest names in drama telling a story that only Cronenberg could tell this well - with a screenplay by one of the great playwrights and screenwriters of our age, as well. If the early reviews from the Venice Film Festival, where the film premiered earlier this week, and spellbinding images and scenes on display in the new trailer for the film are any indication of what we can expect from A DANGEROUS METHOD onscreen, this could very well be the film to sweep all the statuettes at the Oscars.

A History of Promise, Fulfilled

Some directors cannot be confined to one genre or style. Some directors, too, cannot even be defined in any way at all. While David Cronenberg may very well be known to cult film fans for his many horror and science fiction features in the 1970s and 1980s - among them: RABID starring Marilyn Chambers, THE BROOD with Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggars, THE DEAD ZONE with Christopher Walken, DEAD RINGERS with Jeremy Irons, SCANNERS, VIDEODROME with James Woods and Debbie Harry, and, perhaps his most well-known film to date, the remake of THE FLY with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis - it is with his late-career cinematic entrees that he has crafted a tone, style, rhythm, pace and genre all his own. Or, one could ask: were all the films in his portfolio collectively always going to lead to this sophistication were he to continue filmmaking into his sixties (and, soon, seventies), as he has? While he certainly has not pumped out film after film as he did during his hot streaks in the past, the commitment to storytelling and character development above all else in the aforementioned masterful triptych of SPIDER, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES displays a level of theatricality, ambition and richness that is rarely, if ever, achieved in American film anymore. Cronenberg is a true movie master and his cool, cerebral edge is what gives these late-era entries in his canon such a voyeuristic power - an element his films have always capitalized upon - from the veritable visionary of voyeurism in film himself, to stand alongside fellow masters like David Lynch, Brian DePalma and Alfred Hitchcock (and, yes, I am saying all four of their names in the same breath). The observer is always a character in a Cronenberg film, just as the audience is always aware of itself and the role it plays in the drama in a theatrical context at a live show, Broadway or beyond. Considering the subject matter at the heart of A DANGEROUS METHOD, we could be in for some of the best stage scenes outside of 42nd St. thanks to Hampton’s words and Cronenberg’s guidance of the stalwart actors employing and embodying them. We shall certainly see!

Given all of the above, it should come as no surprise whatsoever, then, that Cronenberg has even begun directing stage ventures in recent years, the most significant being THE FLY, which was recently adapted into a full-length opera by Cronenberg himself along with constant cinematic composorial collaborator, Howard Shore. Like many of the best Hollywood directors - Mike Nichols and Robert Altman being foremost examples - Cronenberg brings the best of the stage with him in each creation, a feat achieved mostly through casting and the creative teams he creates to build each film and, then, through his intense attention to detail insofar as character and story elements are concerned - and, of course, how those words, thoughts and emotions are conveyed on celluloid. With each new cinematic endeavor, the slick style and cerebral nature of Cronenberg’s compositions remains intact, yet the subject matter comes alive and pops in a way few directors can seem to make happen these days - and, furthermore, it always feels real. Sometimes, too real.

There is an almost scientific observational aspect to each Cronenberg film, particularly evident in his films from M. BUTTERFLY on, and, given the subject matter of A DANGEROUS METHOD and its dealings with doctors, patients and the unknown universe of the human body and mind, a better director could not have been chosen for this difficult job. After all, A DANGEROUS METHOD marks Cronenberg’s first film foray in over four years - although his next feature, COSMOPOLIS, starring Robert Pattinson, is currently shooting and set for a mid-2012 release - and this forthcoming cinematic combination has Cronenberg poised to potentially deliver yet another late-career one-two knock-out drag-out punch to follow the enviable double-blow of VIOLENCE/PROMISES.

Lest we forget when considering the concise and delicately unraveling drama at the core of A DANGEROUS METHOD and slipping into the sensuous and stirring visuals of the trailer that Cronenberg is no stranger to actual theatrical fare onscreen in his incredibly varied career, either, having directed the sensitive and evocative stage adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s acclaimed transvestism meditation, M. BUTTERFLY, with a staggering lead performance by Jeremy Irons, so to cast modern-day actors with big onscreen personalities and stage chops to spare such as Mortensen, Fassbender, Knightley and Cassel continues on a great Cronenberg tradition of powerful, impressively detailed character studies that have a lasting impact long after you have experienced the film that contains them. I mean, who will ever forget Judy Davis’s junkie ecstatically injecting herself with a syringe through the heart in NAKED LUNCH? Or, Oliver Reed’s blustery and bravado-laden turn in THE BROOD? Or, James Woods’ best performance to date as the protagonist of the erotically bizarre and all-too-prescient VIDEODROME? Particularly if we consider the compelling theatrics and over-the-toppery implicit in performances such as Jeremy Irons in dual roles chewing the scenery with delectability as only he can as the drug-addled twin surgeons with serious kink issues at the center of DEAD RINGERS; or William Hurt’s ten heart-stopping and searing minutes in A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE - it becomes amply apparent to see that Cronenberg is an actor’s director, through and through; first and foremost. With hot talents such as the foursome at the heart of A DANGEROUS METHOD, Cronenberg could very well have a box office hit on his hands, as well - something not even Freud or Jung probably would or could have ever predicted happening with a film about their lives. Sure, elements of the true-life story will surely be glamorized, but the vivid veracity of the vivaciousness and verve at the heart of humanity and how the study of the most seemingly repellant aspects of it can yield an understanding of, compassion for and acquirement of knowledge resulting from that experience. Perhaps the film will do the same.

Indeed, judging from what we have to see here of A DANGEROUS METHOD, Cronenberg may very well deliver the masterwork of his long and accomplished career at last if the trailer is any indication whatsoever of his handle on the intellectual - some would say impermeable - material, as well as the already evidently riveting performance by Knightley and charismatic turns by the leading man. Yes, indeed - what of Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Fassbender)?

Now, check out the sights and sounds of Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD.


Also, as a special bonus, here are trailers for some of the Cronenberg films discussed above:

M. BUTTERFLY



A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE



EASTERN PROMISES



So, do Roman Polanski and his cinematically adapted stage-to-screen four-hander CARNAGE finally have some stiff competition from Cronenberg & Co. with A DANGEROUS METHOD? What about George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and THE IDES OF MARCH team (which is yet another play adaptation)? I, for one, cannot wait to see all three and report back! What about you? What Oscar hopeful(s) can you not wait to see in the coming months?

That’s all for this week. Please remember that if you have discovered a particularly thrilling, unique, bizarre or hilarious Broadway-related clip to please send us a line at the link below. Until next week…

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:22 pm

http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/09/02/keira-knightley-in-a-dangerous-method/

Keira Knightley in 'A Dangerous Method' -- Oscar-Worthy or Laughable?
By Sharon Knolle (Subscribe to Sharon Knolle's posts)
Posted Sep 2nd 2011 6:00PM

Keira Knightley's bold performance in David Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method' is splitting critics at the Venice Film Festival, who are finding her role as an uninhibited mental patient "fabulous" or laughable. Either way, those who've seen the film agree that her approach is extreme.

The film, which stars Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender as, respectively, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, premiered Friday in Venice, and Knightley quickly became the most debated aspect.

Variety calls her performance "problematic," saying that her "brave but unskilled depiction of hysteria at times leaves itself open to easy laughs."

Meanwhile, the Guardian's reviewer disliked the film overall, but wrote, "Knightley provides the Oscar bait." Likewise, Britain's Telegraph says Cronenberg "has coaxed a performance from Knightley so ferocious in these early scenes that it seems likely to become the film's main talking point. It's also a risky strategy, as Sabina's behavior is extreme to the point of being alienating."

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy agrees that Knightley starts off at a high pitch, but praises her "excellent work as a character with a very long emotional arc" and that by film's end, "the performance modulates into something fully felt and genuinely impressive."

Movieline sums up Knightley's hysterics: "It's a lot of acting - maybe not good acting - but it sure gets the point across" and adds as her character gets better under psychoanalysis, "Knightley gets better scene by scene."

Will Canada prove kinder to Knightley? The film hits the Toronto Film Festival next week in advance of a November 23 U.S. release.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:27 pm

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/the-latest/-a-dangerous-method/5031509.article

A Dangerous Method

2 September, 2011 | By Mark Adams, chief film critic

Dir: David Cronenberg. Canada-UK-Germany. 2011. 99mins

An elegant and absorbing chamber piece of the film, David Cronenberg’s delve into the turbulent relationship between psychiatrists Carl Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud and the talented but troubled young woman Sabina Spielrein who comes between them, is beautifully watchable and driven by a series of thoughtful and stylish performances.

Knightley delivers an impressively nuanced performance that highlights Sabina’s intelligence and charisma.

Screening in competition at Venice, it is a cool, mannered and perfectly structured film (it leaves you wanting more rather than less) with fine performances from Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen and an easy visual grace. It is film with sex and sensuality at its core, and while Keira’s on-screen spanking antics will no doubt attract a certain press attention this is a film resolutely about the mind.

Adapted by Christopher Hampton from his stage play The Talking Cure (the term for the early development of psychoanalysis) the film treads an intelligent and dialogue-heavy route through a complex subject, with scenes set mainly in treatment sessions, static conversations and letter-writing, though there are also some delightfully staged exterior sequences which make great use of stylish Austrian and German locations.

A Dangerous Method is a film that could well attract attention in awards season – it has the intellectual pedigree and high performance level to justify nominations, and while perhaps too mannered and highbrow to attract mainstream audiences it has the capacity to be a heavily talked-up film. Cinematography, costumes and production design are all quite sublime.

While the relationship between the up-and-coming Jung (Fassbender) and the legendry Freud (Mortensen) is the overarching story, at its core is the young Russian Jewish woman Sabina Spielrein (Knightley) and the controversial treatment she undergoes at the hands of Jung as he seeks to treat her deep-rooted psychological issues.

The film opens in dramatic style as a screaming and flailing Spielrein is carried into the Burgholzi Clinic in Zurich in 1904 and into the care of 29 year-old Carl Jung, who at this stage is dabbling with Freud’s experimental theories. Disheveled, raging and convulsing, Spielrein is encouraged to talk…to share her early memories of a physically abusive father and her sexual responses to his beatings, with Jung a calm and caring sounding board.

Two years later, Jung travels to Vienna to finally meet Freud (Mortensen, sporting a prosthetic nose and chain smoking cigars) to discuss theories and the Spielrein case in particular. So begins a wary but close relationship between the two men with Freud charmingly unwilling to go too far beyond his own theories and Jung pressing to extend the boundaries of their discussions.

Freud asks Jung to meet/treat a fellow psychiatrist Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel), who – in a plot device that feels oddly simplistic – expounds his distain for the concept of monogamy and enthusiasm for sex in general just as Jung finds Sabina enthusiastic for their relationship to extend beyond that of patient and doctor. Despite a content – though cold and old-fashioned – relationship with his wife Emma (Sarah Gadon), Jung finds himself drawn to the vibrant, willful, intelligent and certainly beautiful Sabina.

Before you know it Jung and Sabina are in an intense sexual relationship, fuelling her masochistic desires with a little light spanking on the side and with Jung regularly filled with self-doubt as he analyses his ethics rather than embracing his lusts. Though there are plenty of bedroom scenes, these moments are never overly sexual (and certainly not erotic) and are merely there as a set-up for further debate on psychoanalytical theories.

When Jung breaks off the relationship she is violently distraught, but eventually decides to leave Zurich and seek out Freud. Jung sees this as the greatest of betrayals, and helps fan the flame of discontent between the two men. Jung has grown weary of Freud’s adherence to sex at the core of every neurosis and unwillingness to find a ‘cure’, while Freud finds the younger man too broad in his psychoanalytical enthusiasms as well as drawing a simple line on religion between them – Freud is Jewish and Jung is not.

Fassbender plays Jung as a slightly vague but enthusiastic academic, with slick-backed hair, small round glasses and a monotone voice that lacks any real accent. He is passionate and oddly naïve, seeing little beyond his desire to learn more. Mortensen’s Freud is an engagingly calm character, with cigar constantly in his mouth and at ease with a confident composure and genial humour. As always Mortensen – in his third film with Cronenberg after A History of Violence and Eastern Promises – dominates the film and brings a much needed sly humour to the proceedings.

And if the two good doctors are always authoritative and perfectly groomed then perhaps Keira Knightley has the hardest of roles, and certainly she does an impressive job as the tormented Sabina. We all know she can wear the frocks and sport the stylish haircut, but here is far more challenged.

The early scenes of her character hysterical and ranting feel slightly forced – a little too much ‘acting’ – though Knightley gets better and better as the film draws on, and in truth it would have been nice to know more about Sabina and her many achievements (she went on to be a distinguished analyst in her own right) rather than simply as a catalyst between these two men. Knightley is also only one who makes a stab at an accent (Russian via Germany), and as her character calms so Knightley delivers an impressively nuanced performance that highlights Sabina’s intelligence and charisma.

The film bears no distinctive Cronenberg cinematic moments (well, certainly not exploding heads or scenes of ultra-violence, though a lingering shot of experimental instruments harks back to the darkness of Dead Ringers) though he is completely at ease in this more rarified almost stagey structure.

Perhaps most memorable, though, are the scenes shot on Germany’s Lake Constance (doubling as Lake Zurich) where Jung sails his elegant wooden yacht with an uncomfortable looking Freud sat aboard. Funny and elegant and a moment of silent grace in amongst the thoughtful dialogue. Beautiful production design by James McAteer and crisp cinematography by Peter Suschitzky help secure A Dangerous Method’s classy credentials

Production companies: Lago Film, Prospero Pictures, Recorded Picture Company, Millbrook Pictures

International sales: HanWay Films, www.hanwayfilms.com

Producer: Jeremy Thomas

Co-producers: Marco Mehlitz

Executive producers: Thomas Sterchi, Matthias Zimmerman, Karl Spoerri, Stephan Mallmann, Peter Watson

Screenplay: Christopher Hampton, based on his stage play The Talking Cure and based on John Kerr’s book A Most Dangerous Method

Cinematography: Peter Suschitzky

Editor: Ronald Sanders

Production designer: James McAteer

Music: Howard Shore

Main cast: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:30 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/02/a-dangerous-method-review_n_946629.html

'A Dangerous Method' By The Critics: More Great Than Mediocre
Keira Predator Jaw Dangerous Method Critics

The Huffington Post Mallika Rao Posted: 9/2/11 11:48 AM ET

Next in our line of Venice Film Fest movies scored by the critics: "A Dangerous Method," the Freud/Jung period drama directed by once-slashery David Cronenberg, starring Cronenberg's oughties muse Viggo Mortensen as Freud, Michael Fassbender (yes please) as Jung and Keira Knightley as the brilliant, troubled Sabina Speilrein, a Russian-Jewish patient of Jung's who plays a pivotal role in the two mens' friendship and ends up a respected psychoanalyst in her own right. As with Madonna's period piece, "W.E.," the critics can't agree on whether Cronenberg's stab at history is too self-conscious or just self-conscious enough, but their general takeaway is far more positive, with special kudos for the strong trinity of actors and Knightley's willingness to get ugly. Sunny with a chance. Read on for more:

Telegraph:
"The main performances are fine, with Fassbender conveying seething emotion beneath a calm veneer. But it’s Knightley that one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts."
Score: 3/5 stars

This Is London:
"David Cronenberg's film, adapted by Christopher Hampton, from his play The Talking Cure (in turn, based on John Kerr's book A Most Dangerous Method) is, despite its complicated subject matter, one of the most straightforward he has made."
Score: 4/5 stars

Xan Brooks, The Guardian:
"[A] heartfelt, well-acted but curiously underwhelming slab of Masterpiece Theatre. A Dangerous Method feels heavy and lugubrious. It is a tale that comes marinated in port and choked on pipe-smoke. You long for it to hop down from the couch, throw open the windows and run about in the garden."
Score: 2/5 stars

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:
"Shaking off any dusty remnants of a period biographical piece, the film tackles thorny psycho-sexual issues and matters of professional ethics with a frankness that feels entirely contemporary. Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined, this story of boundary-testing in the early days of psychoanalysis is brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances of Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender."

Cinema Scope:
"[A] curious tone pitched between placid costume drama and the threat of domestic horror."

The Playlist:
"Knightley, seemingly unhinging her lower jaw like a Predator, is all mannerism at first. Still, if the take off and landing are a bit bumpy, most of “A Dangerous Method” is fearsomely smart, a grown-up film that doesn’t forget to move you even as it fires up the synapses. Mortensen caps off a trilogy of perfect performances for Cronenberg (and is the film’s best bet for award nods, we imagine), the other leads hold their own, at least after that awkward first reel, and it examines the creative and destructive elements of sexuality in a way that very few filmmakers would dare."
score: B

The Independent:
(Quoting producer Jeremy Thomas): "The film is like an incredible action movie with words."

What Culture!:
"The film in fact looks more like a novel that’s been put on film line by line, without any consideration for the media that was being used...perhaps the story (based on a 2002 play by Christopher Hampton) should never have been considered for the big screen."

Overall Critical Score: B+

"A Dangerous Method" hits theaters Nov. 23, 2011.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:31 pm

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/09/venice-film-fest-buzz-good-and-bad-for-keira-knightley-dangerous-method-cronenberg.html

Venice Film Fest: Buzz (good and bad) for Keira Knightley
September 2, 2011 | 9:23 am

David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" premiered Friday at the Venice Film Festival, and already Keira Knightley's performance seems to be becoming a topic of buzz. Depending on whom you believe, it's either Oscar-worthy, or a bit of an embarrassment. The film centers on the friendship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung (played by Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, respectively) and the brilliant female patient-student, Sabina (Knightley), who came between them.

Cronenberg is known for his passion for gore, but "A Dangerous Method" seems to steer clear of that in his new film. Justin Chung, writing for Variety, praises the movie overall as "elegant" and "coolly restrained" -- but zeroes in on Knightley's performance as a possible trouble spot.

"Rather less assured, and initially the film's most problematic element, is Knightley, whose brave but unskilled depiction of hysteria at times leaves itself open to easy laughs," he said. "The spectacle of the usually refined actress flailing about, taking on a grotesque underbite, and stammering and wailing in a Russian accent is perhaps intended to clash with her costars' impeccable restraint, but does so here in unintended ways. But as Sabina's condition improves, so does Knightley's performance."

Xan Brooks, in a negative review for the Guardian, says that, nevertheless, "Knightley provides the Oscar bait," while David Gritten, writing for Britain's Telegraph, says Cronenberg "has coaxed a performance from Knightley so ferocious in these early scenes that it seems likely to become the film's main talking point. It’s also a risky strategy, as Sabina’s behaviour is extreme to the point of being alienating."

But the Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy has praise for "Knightley's excellent work as a character with a very long emotional arc," saying: "Screaming and alarmingly jutting out her jaw in extremis, Knightley starts at a pitch so high as to provoke fear of where she'll go from there. Fortunately, the direction is down; as her character, under Jung's fastidious care, gradually gets a grip on her issues and can assess herself with a measure of intellectual composure, the performance modulates into something fully felt and genuinely impressive."

More reactions to come -- the film will roll out at next week's Toronto International Film Festival.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:35 pm

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/awards-campaign/posts/critics-response-viggo-mortensen-shines-in-a-dangerous-method

Critics' Response: Viggo Mortensen shines as Freud in 'A Dangerous Method'

Mixed reviews praise the film's acting while noting its chilly tone

By Dave Lewis Friday, Sep 2, 2011 1:05 PM

Critics' Response: Viggo Mortensen shines as Freud in 'A Dangerous Method'

'A Dangerous Method'
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

David Cronenberg's historical drama "A Dangerous Method" premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Friday and, so far, the reviews have been largely mixed, praising the film's smarts and stars while noting its chilled tone and dry nature.

"Method" stars Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud who, along with close friend and professional rival Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) develops the new found art of psychoanalysis while the two find themselves torn apart by a sexually troubled patient/student who comes between them (Keira Knightley).

Justin Chang of Variety calls the film "elegant" and "coolly restrained," while lamenting the "absence of gut-level impact" and noting that the slow-moving, talky approach may deaden some commercial attention. He singles out Mortensen's performance as Freud, noting that the actor steals the film, while stating, "rather less assured, and initially the film's most problematic element, is Knightley, whose brave but unskilled depiction of hysteria at times leaves itself open to easy laughs."

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy calls the film "Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined." He admits that Knightley's performance starts over-the-top, but is brought back down to a more suitable level. "Along with Knightley's excellent work as a character with a very long emotional arc indeed, Fassbender brilliantly conveys Jung's intelligence, urge to propriety and irresistible hunger for shedding light on the mysteries of the human interior," writes McCarthy. "A drier, more contained figure, Freud is brought wonderfully to life by Mortensen in a bit of unexpected casting that proves entirely successful."

David Gritten of the Daily Telegraph agrees: "It's Knightley that one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts."

Meanwhile, The Guardian provides an early voice of dissent. While acknowledging the intelligence of the script and the solid performances, reviewer Xan Brooks contends that "'A Dangerous Method' feels heavy and lugubrious. It is a tale that comes marinated in port and choked on pipe-smoke. You long for it to hop down from the couch, throw open the windows and run about in the garden."

Noted critic Emmanuel Levy comments on the film's Oscar chances. "Knowing the Academy voters’ conservative tastes, " he says "I don’t think “Dangerous Method” is Oscar-caliber as a picture, but its three main actors should receive nominations for their work: Fassbender and Keira Knightly in the lead categories and Viggo Mortensen in the supporting one."

Mortensen previously collaborated with Cronenberg on "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises."

"A Dangerous Method" opens in the U.S. November 23.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:37 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/2011/09/02/venice_david_cronenbergs_a_dangerous_method_review_and_press_conference/

Venice: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method Review and Press Conference
Thompson on Hollywood
David Gritten reviews David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method from the Venice Film Festival. It’s a rave.

David Cronenberg brought his Freud-Jung movie A Dangerous Method to Venice today, and received an enthusiastic reception from a packed press screening. Stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley joined him on the press conference, along with his long-time collaborator, producer Jeremy Thomas and co-stars Vincent Cassel and Sarah Gadon.

Cronenberg, a popular figure in Venice, was in jovial mood – heartened by the ovation for a difficult film. He pointed out this was the 68th Venice Festival and he himself is 68. (Cue applause.) The festival’s opening film was The Ides of March – and his birthday is March 15. How about that? As the auteur of a new film with a major character (Carl Jung) who doesn’t believe in coincidence, this was pretty goofy.

Anyway, on to the movie itself:

Talky, cerebral and intensely complex in its depiction of a fraught three-cornered relationship, A Dangerous Method is quite unlike any other film by Cronenberg, still widely associated with blood, gore and body parts. Set between 1904 and 1913, it tackles the struggle between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) to establish their supremacy at the dawn of the era of psychoanalysis.

The future and well being of Sabina Spielrein, a troubled young Russian woman played by Keira Knightley, becomes the defining issue between the two men. Aged 18, she arrives at a Zurich hospital to be treated by Jung. She’s in a distressing state, flinching from human contact and contorting her body and face in grotesque gestures of pain and terror.

Cronenberg has coaxed a performance from Knightley so ferocious in these early scenes that it seems likely to become the film’s main talking point. It’s also a risky strategy, as Sabina’s behaviour is extreme to the point of being alienating.

Yet it also underlines the intensity of the stakes of the rivalry between Freud and Jung, which comes to resemble a father-son struggle. Jung experiments on Sabina with his innovative “talking cure,” the earliest form of psychoanalysis, encouraging her to recall her feelings as a child when her father beat her.

Jung, married to a rich, sedate woman (Sarah Gadon) who bears him children, finally admits his repressed lust for Sabina, and they embark on an affair. (She enjoys being hit.) The liaison appalls Freud. The scene in which Jung takes her virginity is one of the few classic Cronenberg moments.

Much of this material (adapted from Christopher Hampton’s play. The Talking Cure) is frankly uncinematic, and Cronenberg has compensated with sumptuous locations – Swiss lakes, opulent houses and ravishing costumes – Knightley is decked out in an impressive series of blouses, bustles and corsets.

The main performances are fine, with Fassbender conveying seething emotion beneath a calm veneer. But it’s Knightley one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:41 pm

http://www.movieline.com/2011/09/postcard-from-venice-a-dangerous-method-is-the-most-fun-youll-ever-have-watching-freud-and-jung-duke-it-out.php

Postcard from Venice: Freud and Jung Duke It Out in Dangerous Method; Louis Garrel’s Latest Flatlines
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Leader image for Postcard from Venice: Freud and Jung Duke It Out in Dangerous Method; Louis Garrel's Latest Flatlines

David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, screening here at the festival in competition, is probably the most fun you’ll ever have watching a movie about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud duking it out — and nurturing a deep-rooted but fragile friendship — in early 20th century Austria and Switzerland. In fact, when I first saw Viggo Mortensen done up in his trim little Freud beard, I nearly laughed out loud — not because he looked ridiculous, but because he looked so right. Mortensen has become one of Cronenberg’s go-to guys in recent years, and you can see why: Even in a period film like this one — a picture that runs the heavy risk of being ponderous and stiff — he can slip himself into the scenery with a “Don’t mind me, here in my Sigmund Freud getup” naturalness.

That’s not true of everyone in the picture, particularly Keira Knightley, who has to navigate a particularly difficult entrance: Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein, a young Russian woman who would go on to become a renowned psychoanalyst herself, but when we first see her, she’s a hysterical creature being carted off to a hospital, kicking and screaming, in a horse-drawn carriage. Michael Fassbender’s Jung is the doctor in charge of treating her, and she’s in the midst of a fit when he first sits her down: Her neck is drawn long and tight, her eyes pop, her jaw juts out so far it looks as if it might detach from her face. It’s a lot of acting — maybe not good acting — but it sure gets the point across.

Knightley gets better scene by scene, and the movie does too: Cronenberg is working from a script by Christopher Hampton (the movie is based on his play, The Talking Cure, as well as on John Kerr’s book A Most Dangerous Method), and his control over the material is both masterful and confident in its lightness. There’s some kinky sex in A Dangerous Method, particularly a discreet spanking episode, but Cronenberg makes it neither exploitive nor so tasteful that it loses its charge. He’s hip to the allure of the forbidden, but he doesn’t get carried away by it.

Cronenberg is a skilled and astute filmmaker, but he has an unfortunate tendency to take himself too seriously. His disciplined offhandedness is key here, and his actors thrive in the atmosphere he’s created for them. Fassbender has the great gift of being able to forget how good-looking he is: His Jung is gentlemanly, thoughtful, dutiful, as upstanding as the starched white collar he wears. It all goes kerflooey when he’s tempted by forbidden fruit, and Fassbender works that transition beautifully: His facial features are so classically composed — he looks so preternaturally stable and trustworthy — that when you see him play a character torn between intellect and the sexual impulse, you understand the costs involved.

Cronenberg is attuned to the inherent drama, and the pitfalls, in what these men did. As a filmmaker, he’s as good a listener as he is a talker.

And his exchanges with Mortensen’s Freud are among the movie’s greatest pleasures. He’s the straight man to Mortensen’s sly jokester. At their first meeting, Freud listens patiently as Jung outlines Spielrein’s symptoms in great detail. He offers one observation, which Jung rejects; he offers another that Jung also pooh-poohs. “Well,” he says, after waiting one patient beat, “perhaps it’s a Russian thing.” In A Dangerous Method Cronenberg takes this meeting of minds and finds the crackle in the connection. It’s never dull for a moment, which is an achievement for a movie about two guys who built whole therapeutic disciplines around the acts of talking and listening. Cronenberg is attuned to the inherent drama, and the pitfalls, in what these men did. As a filmmaker, he’s as good a listener as he is a talker.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:46 pm

http://blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/2011/09/02/could-venice-numbers-work-for-cronenberg/

Could Venice numbers work for Cronenberg?
Sep 2, 2011 10:44 EDT

Strange coincidence or auspicious sign? David Cronenberg is at the Venice film festival with his movie “A Dangerous Method”, one of 22 in the main competition lineup and competing for the coveted Golden Lion for best picture come September 10.

At a press conference after a screening to journalists and critics, where the reception for the cerebral costume drama was warm, the Canadian film maker pondered the significance of numbers at this year’s festival.

“This is the 68th Venice film festival and I am 68,” he said. “And just to add to that weirdness, the opening film of the festival was called ‘The Ides of March’ and that’s my birthday, so just keep that in mind.”

Early reviews of A Dangerous Method have been mixed, with some very positive feedback for the movie starring Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung and Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein.

Knightley’s performance is the main talking point — she plays a psychologically disturbed patient who gradually gets her hysteria under control. Her “mad” scenes and those in which she moans with pleasure while being spanked by a leather belt are a departure from her more demure roles, and, like the film itself, the performance has split opinion.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:47 pm

http://www.awardsdaily.com/2011/09/todd-mccarthy-on-a-dangerous-method-precise-lucid-thrillingly-disciplined/

Todd McCarthy on A Dangerous Method: “Precise, lucid, thrillingly disciplined”
By Ryan Adams | September 2, 2011

Todd McCarthy in Venice for The Hollywood Reporter:

“We have to go into uncharted territory,” the psychiatrist Carl Jung observes in regard to his own pioneering work, and the complex, fascinating topic of Jung’s and Sigmund Freud’s touchy relationship and eventual falling out over a beautiful, sexually hysterical patient has been grippingly explored by director David Cronenberg and writer Christopher Hampton in A Dangerous Method. Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined, this story of boundary-testing in the early days of psychoanalysis is brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances of Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender. Sure to be well received by festival audiences in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York…

UPDATE: More McCarthy, and excerpts from another favorable review, after the cut.

Shaking off any dusty remnants of a period biographical piece, the film tackles thorny psycho-sexual issues and matters of professional ethics with a frankness that feels entirely contemporary…

Of all of Cronenberg’s films, A Dangerous Method reminds most of the brilliant Dead Ringers, if only because they both so breathtakingly embrace the dramatic dualities within humans, especially when they brush up against the primal subjects of sex and death.

Despite having to cover stages in the trio’s relationships spread over many years, Hampton’s screenplay utterly coheres and never feels episodic. The dialogue is constantly confronting, articulate and stimulating, the intellectual exchanges piercing at times. Cronenberg’s direction is at one with the writer’s diamond-hard rigor; cinematographer Peter Suschitzky provides visuals of a pristine purity augmented by the immaculate fin de l’epoch settings, while the editing has a bracing sharpness than can only be compared to Kubrick’s.

Oliver Lyttelton writing for The Playlist/IndieWIRE says, “Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ An Insightful Look At Sexuality & The Mind”

All in all, it’s a pacy, absorbing picture, and one of real substance (certainly more so than the enjoyable, but somewhat hollow “Eastern Promises”). But if anything keeps it from quite hitting the heights that it could, it’s Hampton’s scripting. It’s not so much the uncompromising manner of the material—an audience member could probably get by on the briefest knowledge of psychoanalysis, which in this day and age most have, and, while the dialogue is sometimes tortuously wordy, the cast are able to make it fly, with only one or two lines sounding clunky. It’s more that Hampton can’t quite stick the landing; Freud and Jung’s feud over the latter moving into more radical, mystical territory isn’t really adequately covered, while a break and then a resumption of the affair between Jung and Sabina kills the momentum of the thing.

Still, if the take off and landing are a bit bumpy, most of “A Dangerous Method” is fearsomely smart, a grown-up film that doesn’t forget to move you even as it fires up the synapses. Mortensen caps off a trilogy of perfect performances for Cronenberg (and is the film’s best bet for award nods, we imagine), the other leads hold their own, at least after that awkward first reel, and it examines the creative and destructive elements of sexuality in a way that very few filmmakers would dare. While we hope that Cronenberg will kick off and play a little more loose the next time out, we’re glad he decided Hampton’s play was worth the effort.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:51 pm

http://www.hollywoodnews.com/2011/09/02/keira-knightley-earns-raves-at-venice-for-a-dangerous-method-awards-alley/

Fri, Sep 2 2011 | Published in *NEWS, AWARDS, AWARDS ALLEY, CELEBS, HEADLINES, MOVIES
Keira Knightley earns raves at Venice for “A Dangerous Method” – AWARDS ALLEY
By: Sean O'Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: David Cronenberg’s latest, “A Dangerous Method,” held its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, with the press providing a surprising reaction: Applause.

Not that Cronenberg’s film doesn’t deserve it. There’s a very good chance it’s great. But the unwashed masses of the media rarely respond with such effusive praise unless something’s really deserving, so “Dangerous Method” must be something special. Right?

I’ll know for sure when I see the film at TIFF 2011 next week. In the meantime, reviews for the film – which follows Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) as they clash over a patient (Keira Knightley) – hit the Web ahead of the movie’s Venice bow.

Todd McCarthy writes in the Hollywood Reporter that Cronenberg’s “precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined” film is “brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances.”

David Gritten at the UK Telegraph throws more love Knightley’s way, saying Cronenberg “has coaxed a performance from Knightley so ferocious in these early scenes that it seems likely to become the film’s main talking point.” He also cautions that her role is “extreme to the point of being alienating.”

The Guardian doesn’t agree. In his two-star review, Xan Brooks writes, “Even the celebrated spanking scene fails to knock much life into David Cronenberg’s lugubrious tale of the tussle between Freud and Jung.”

McCarthy gets the last word, saying Cronenberg’s film is “sure to be well received by festival audiences in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York (except, perhaps, by orthodox adherents of both physicians), this Sony Classics release should enjoy a vigorous life in specialized release” when it hits theaters on Nov. 23.

For the latest awards season news, be sure to visit (and bookmark) our Awards Alley, which brings you up-to-the-minute news, interviews and reviews of every film in the awards race.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:56 pm

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/2011/09/02/venice_11_review_a_dangerous_method_david_cronenberg_insightful_sexuality_m/

Venice ‘11 Review: Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ An Insightful Look At Sexuality & The Mind


The recent career of David Cronenberg has been an interesting thing to watch. Having made his name with a very particular, icky brand of fetish-happy body horror, he hasn’t dipped back into that well for a decade now, preferring instead to take his obsessions and use them to spice up what in other hands could be standard fare. And generally speaking, it has worked well: “Spider,” “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises” all have much to recommend them, all peculiarly Cronenbergian, but each pushing in a slightly different direction. But now he’s made what, on the surface at least, might seem to be his biggest departure to date: a period piece, based on a stage play (one of several in Venice this year—have movies rediscovered theater as a source of material?), that examines the relationship between the two major forefathers of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Of course, the elements that might seem to mark this as a real departure for the Canadian helmer are purely cosmetic, but we’ll come to that in a moment. First, the set-up: Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a young, mentally ill woman is brought to the hospital in Zurich where Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) works. She’s clearly in a bad way, reduced to paralyzing fits of spasms and anxiety after years of beatings from her father. Jung uses the so-called “talking cure” (also the name of the Christopher Hampton play the film is based on, which starred Ralph Fiennes in London) pioneered, but seemingly never used, by Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), which uncovers a sexual heart to Sabina’s problems. The method leads to a great deal of improvement and Sabina begins training as a psychoanalyst herself, and brings Jung to the attention of Freud, who becomes a kind of father figure. But the arrival of a renegade protege of Freud, Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel), and the continuing attentions of Spielrein, cause Jung to cross a line that can’t be uncrossed.


Few filmmakers deal with sexuality—proper, grown-up sexuality, not “can you have sex without falling in love?”—like Cronenberg does, so in many ways a film like this is a natural fit, particularly considering an interest in psychoanalysis already shown in “Spider.” As such, some might be surprised at how restrained the film is, bar a couple of spanking scenes and a sticky close-up of virginal blood. Instead, it’s a film of ideas, one dominated by verbal exchanges, as you might expect considering its theatrical origins—Cronenberg opens it up more successfully than Roman Polanski did with “Carnage,” but it’s certainly less cinematic than “The Ides of March” (which was also based, albeit very loosely, on a play). But where it does feel like a film authored by the director is in the control, the discipline with which it’s put together—one scene in which Jung conducts research on his wife Emma (Sarah Gadon) displays some of the best cutting of the year.

If you were to see only the first 20 minutes, however, you would beg to disagree. It’s an unwieldy opening, dominated by what initially threatens to be a disastrous performance from Knightley. In fairness, it’s a near-impossible part to pull off; when we first meet her (and she’s the very first thing we see), she’s a whirling ball of crazy, more a walking, spasming personified tic than a human being, and Knightley, seemingly unhinging her lower jaw like a Predator, is all mannerism at first. The effort is visible, and it’s clear that she’s acting rather than inhabiting the character, even if she’s admirably free of vanity while she does it. Fassbender, in turn, seems to find it difficult to play off her, essentially playing a stern note and not much else.

Fortunately, things improve a great deal once Freud arrives. Mortensen (aided by probably the most significant nose prosthesis since Nicole Kidman‘s in “The Hours”) is, as he so often is these days, tremendous, bringing a patrician wit and real pathos to the part. His arrival comes with the return of sanity to Sabina, and it helps the film no end. Once Knightley settles into the part, she’s as affecting as she has been in most of her recent turns, her late-in-the-game pride at what she’s achieved being particularly moving. Cronenberg is underrated as a director of women, and the film is as much a celebration of a bright, talented woman as it is about the men’s battles over the early days of their new science.

As things continue, Fassbender is sometimes impenetrably stiff (as he probably should be), but he too gets a few moments in which to stretch his wings a little in the third act. The film retains the small, focused cast of the stage version, but the supporting players are strong; Cassel walks off with his scenes as the unrestrained id to Jung’s ego and Freud’s superego, while Cronenberg’s new favorite Sarah Gadon (who’ll return in next year’s “Cosmopolis”) doesn’t have a great deal to do, but has a few nice moments of steeliness to flesh out the character.

All in all, it’s a pacy, absorbing picture, and one of real substance (certainly more so than the enjoyable, but somewhat hollow “Eastern Promises”). But if anything keeps it from quite hitting the heights that it could, it’s Hampton’s scripting. It’s not so much the uncompromising manner of the material—an audience member could probably get by on the briefest knowledge of psychoanalysis, which in this day and age most have, and, while the dialogue is sometimes tortuously wordy, the cast are able to make it fly, with only one or two lines sounding clunky. It’s more that Hampton can’t quite stick the landing; Freud and Jung’s feud over the latter moving into more radical, mystical territory isn’t really adequately covered, while a break and then a resumption of the affair between Jung and Sabina kills the momentum of the thing.

Still, if the take-off and landing are a bit bumpy, most of “A Dangerous Method” is fearsomely smart; a grown-up film that doesn’t forget to move you even as it fires up the synapses. Mortensen caps off a trilogy of perfect performances for Cronenberg (and is the film’s best bet for award nods, we imagine), the other leads hold their own, at least after that awkward first reel, and it examines the creative and destructive elements of sexuality in a way that very few filmmakers would dare. While we hope that Cronenberg will kick off and play a little more loose the next time out, we’re glad he decided Hampton’s play was worth the effort. [B]

Oliver Lyttelton posted to Directors, David Cronenberg, Film Festivals, Venice, Films, A Dangerous Method, Review at 9:24 am on September 2, 2011 |
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:00 pm

http://whatculture.com/film/venice-2011-review-david-cronenbergs-a-dangerous-method.php

Venice 2011 Review: David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD

September 2, 2011 11:33 am
Andrea Pasquettin

Rating: ★★★☆☆

For the third time in three movies 80′s gore fest auteur and modern day dramatist David Cronenberg teams up with his 21st century muse Viggo Mortensen for a totally different genre/character piece than before but portraying the confidence of an accomplished storyteller within it’s expected conventions. They are perhaps two of the most versatile artists working today. This time they team together to portrait on the big screen the untold story of the intense relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, and the woman who became between them when the two were in the midst of their groundbreaking research on the human psyche.

The focal point is represented by Keira Knightley’s character, Sabina Spielrein and her initial meeting with Carl Jung who, at the beginning of the film, takes her as his patient. Jung, played by Michael Fassbender, using Freud’s techniques tries to cure her and by doing so he further develops his own theories which eventually will run opposite from Freud’s on sexuality. In the beginning of the film Spielrein is admitted to the hospital where Jung is doing his research as she is considered stir crazy. Carrying on from her successful run of dramatic turns, Keira Knightley does a tremendous job in the part, for being one of the most photographed woman in the world she has no fear of being ugly and repellent to the audience and we live with her her pain and suffering. She was so good it was painful to watch, it felt like we were intruding into the life of this very young and deeply troubled woman.

The setting of the film is Switzerland in the late 1800′s and the perfectionist Cronenberg painstakingly does a good job recreating the atmosphere of those times but the story never goes anywhere, it jumps from moment to moment, situation to situation without ever going deep. It is not a biopic, it is not a drama, it is not a comedy, it is not a love story. It just seems to exist, despite how well made it is from a technical point of view.

Michael Fassbender’s character is full of good intentions and ideals but his heart is not in the film. Same thing strangely for Viggo Mortensen whose portrait of Freud seems a little superficial, an impersonation that looks like he came out of a bad BBC t.v. serial. Christoph Waltz had been attached to the role previously in what would have been a reuniting of the Inglourious Basterds between he and Fassbender but he decided to do Water for Elephants instead and perhaps his absence is felt here as Cronenberg called in his trusted friend Viggo at the last minute and maybe didn’t have the time to prepare for the role properly. Another Easter Promises alumni Vincent Cassel here is playing a caricature more than a character, it’s hard to believe he is a doctor and he’s only reason to be in the film is to convince Jung of the values of sleeping with his patients.

Cronenberg doesn’t seem to have a precise idea of what he wants the message of this film to be, his direction is plain, it misses his touch. A friend of mine after watching the film said that he would have preferred to have read the film, more than watched it. That’s a valid point, the film in fact looks more like a novel that’s been put on film line by line, without any consideration for the media that was being used and perhaps the story (based on a 2002 play by Christopher Hampton) should never have been considered for the big screen.

Most of the film is spent talking about psychoanalysis, sexuality and dreams; they touch the subject of polygamy without investigate it too much. Some people I was with liked the film, but I honestly still have not figured out whether I watched a bad documentary, a biopic or a drama. All the facts depicted in the film have allegedly taken place in real life, but besides Keira Knightly’s performance (which has its flaws as well) everybody else looked like they were still working on their characters, still looking for the “it” that turns a good job into a great performance. A rehearsal for a performance.

If there’s a book about this, then I highly suggest you to read it, as the story is fairly interesting. As far as watching A Dangerous Method, I prefer to leave it as a no comment, at least until I have figured out what I watched this morning.

A Dangerous Method is out in the U.S. on November 23rd and shamefully, not out in the U.K. till February 10th 2012!
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:01 pm

http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/89576/a-dangerous-method.html

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Director: David Cronenberg

From Time Out Online
Some David Cronenberg fans might scratch their heads at ‘A Dangerous Method’, the new film from the Canadian director of ‘Crash’ and ‘A History of Violence’. It’s an unapologetically bloodless account of the testy, early-nineteenth-century friendships between both Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his patient-cum-lover Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) and Jung and his better-known Austrian colleague Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). It’s a defiantly literary film, with a script by Christopher Hampton (‘Atonement’, ‘Cheri’) based on his play, and Cronenberg opts for a still, unfussy style of direction.

The story moves in a straight line from 1904 to 1913, offering these years as pivotal in Jung’s life and development as a psychiatrist. He settles in Zurich and has children with his wife, Emma (Sarah Gadon), and at the same time takes on the unsettling case of Spielrein, a disturbed but intelligent woman whose troubled family past suggests a strong link between distress and sexuality. Soon, he also begins a close intellectual affair with Freud in Vienna. The men share ideas, but they also clash, while at the same time Jung’s relationship with Spielrein becomes stormy and dangerous as the boundaries between doctor and patient collapse.

As a précis of Jung and Freud’s ideas and an accessible explanation of their evolution, ‘A Dangerous Method’ is effective, but it struggles to shrug off its theatrical roots. Knightley’s spirited embrace of her character’s hysteria will have some running for the exit, although as Spielrein becomes more interesting and three-dimensional, so does Knightley’s performance, which thankfully moves beyond the film’s very first scene of her kicking and screaming as she is carried into a mental hospital. Most of the scenes between Fassbender and Mortensen are quickfire and rigorous and add meat to the film’s sometimes shaky bones. Vincent Cassel’s brief appearances as the wild psychiatrist Otto Gross and the devil on Jung’s back, pushing him towards following his instincts – and striking up a sado-masochistic love affair with Spielrein, cue spanking! – loosen things up a little too.

It’s an unusual film for Cronenberg – but this idea can be overplayed. Is it really so odd that a man whose films have so often plunged the depths of the human mind should interest himself with the birth of twentieth-century thinking on how that same mind works? Let’s not forget, too, that one of his strongest films, ‘Spider’, was an imaginative account of a man cracking up. That starred Ralph Fiennes, who also played Jung in Hampton’s original mid-’90s play, and perhaps there’s an unbroken line of interest of Cronenberg’s part between the play and both films, especially as ‘A Dangerous Method’ was many years in gestation.

Whoever the director is, it’s undeniable that this is a conservative experience, visually, and suffers from the stuffiness of historical reconstruction, especially when so much of the drama is interior. It doesn’t help that Fassbender, Knightley and Mortensen all speak English with mittel-European accents – a dramatic affectation that one hoped was dying out after being pilloried by the likes of ‘Inglourious Basterds’. One of the strengths of the film and of Hampton’s script (and presumably his play before it) is that the film’s two distinct stories, Jung’s friendship with Freud and his painful romance with Spielrein, are fully complementary and each cleverly sheds light on the other. By the time the film leaps forward for a final epilogue in 1934, you feel that Cronenberg and Hampton have succeeded in a full and telling professional and personal portrait of Jung, even if the film that houses it is sometimes lacking.

Author: Dave Calhoun

Time Out Online Venice Film Festival 2011
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:01 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/02/a-dangerous-method-david-cronenberg-review

A Dangerous Method – review

Even the celebrated spanking scene fails to knock much life into David Cronenberg's lugubrious tale of the tussle between Freud and Jung
2 out of 5

Xan Brooks
guardian.co.uk, Friday 2 September 2011 11.53 BST

A Dangerous Method
'All that's missing is a crucial whiff of danger' ... Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in A Dangerous Method. Photograph: Lionsgate/Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

There is method a-plenty in David Cronenberg's well-upholstered tale of Freud and Jung and the woman in the middle. It contains solid, subtle performances from Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender. The script is intelligent, the tone is tasteful, and Keira Knightley provides the Oscar bait with a fleeting display of stage-managed pyrotechnics. All that's missing, in fact, is a crucial whiff of danger.

A Dangerous Method
Production year: 2011
Country: UK
Directors: David Cronenberg
Cast: Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel
More on this film

A Dangerous Method is based on a play by Christopher Hampton, which is itself based on a book by John Kerr and somewhere along this rattling crawl between the base-camps the vim and vigour has bled clean out of it. Fassbender stars as the young Carl Jung, a fledgling psychiatrist, reaching for greatness under the gimlet eye of his mentor, Sigmund Freud (Mortensen). Jung idolises Freud but, increasingly, the two men are pulling in opposite directions. Freud thinks Jung's line of analysis is too airy-fairy, too in thrall to supposition and coincidence. Jung, for his part, thinks the master has sex on the brain. "Surely there must be more than one hinge into the universe," he grumbles.

The irony, though, is that whereas Freud is presented as a celibate old shaman, Jung is off living the dream, swinging the hinge until it howls out in protest. He is married and siring child after child while simultaneously carrying on an affair with Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), a brilliant hysteric who is an inmate at his hospital. Sabina bares her teeth and juts an extraordinary, elongated chin that should by rights have been shot in 3D. She is, she claims, "vile and filthy and corrupt" and her greatest desire is to be tied up and spanked. Jung, with a pained, frowning diligence, duly obliges.

But spanking, as any good psychiatrist should know, has consequences. In this particular case, it winds up exciting Sabina to a worrying degree, making Jung more miserable than he was before and comprehensively torpedoing the friendship with Freud, who initially defends his protege and then feels a fool for doing so. What the spanking can't do, unfortunately, is knock some life into this heartfelt, well-acted but curiously underwhelming slab of Masterpiece Theatre. A Dangerous Method feels heavy and lugubrious. It is a tale that comes marinated in port and choked on pipe-smoke. You long for it to hop down from the couch, throw open the windows and run about in the garden.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:03 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/venice-film-festival/8737413/Venice-Film-Festival-2011-A-Dangerous-Method-review.html

Venice Film Festival 2011: A Dangerous Method, review
A Dangerous Method sees Keira Knightly give a gutsy but potentially divisive performance as a troubled young Russian woman.
3 out of 5 stars

By David Gritten

1:04PM BST 02 Sep 2011

Talky, cerebral and intensely complex in its depiction of a fraught three-cornered relationship, A Dangerous Method is quite unlike any other film by director David Cronenberg, still widely associated with blood, gore and body parts. Set between 1904 and 1913, it tackles the struggle between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) to establish their supremacy at the dawn of the era of psychoanalysis.

The future and well being of Sabina Spielrein, a troubled young Russian woman played by Keira Knightley, becomes the defining issue between the two men. Aged 18, she arrives at a Zurich hospital to be treated by Jung. She’s in a distressing state, flinching from human contact and contorting her body and face in grotesque gestures of pain and terror.

Cronenberg has coaxed a performance from Knightley so ferocious in these early scenes that it seems likely to become the film's main talking point. It’s also a risky strategy, as Sabina’s behaviour is extreme to the point of being alienating.

Yet it also underlines the intensity of the stakes of the rivalry between Freud and Jung, which comes to resemble a father-son struggle. Jung experiments on Sabina with his innovative “talking cure,” the earliest form of psychoanalysis, encouraging her to recall her feelings as a child when her father beat her.

Jung, married to a rich, sedate woman (Sarah Gadon) who bears him children, finally admits his repressed lust for Sabina, and they embark on an affair. (She enjoys being hit.) The liaison appals Freud. The scene in which Jung takes her virginity is one of the few classic Cronenberg moments.

Much of this material (adapted from Christopher Hampton's play The Talking Cure) is frankly uncinematic, and Cronenberg has compensated with sumptuous locations – Swiss lakes, opulent houses and ravishing costumes. Knightley is decked out in an impressive series of blouses, bustles and corsets.

The main performances are fine, with Fassbender conveying seething emotion beneath a calm veneer. But it’s Knightley that one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:04 pm

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/review-23983509-a-dangerous-method-venice-film-festival---first-review.do

A Dangerous Method

Rating: 4 out of 5 Derek Malcolm's rating
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

A Dangerous Method, Venice Film Festival - First Review
Kiera Knightley
Method acting: Keira Knightley as Sebina Spielrein, a patient of Carl Jung, who became his lover and influenced his and Freud’s theories

If truth is often a good deal stranger than fiction, there couldn't be a better example than the quietly fraught relationships between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Sebina Spielrein, psycho-analytical pioneers of the early 20th century.

Spielrein, the least known of the three, was first a patient of the young Jung, then had an enduring affair with him and later influenced both him and Freud's theories.

David Cronenberg's film, adapted by Christopher Hampton, from his play The Talking Cure (in turn, based on John Kerr's book A Most Dangerous Method) is, despite its complicated subject matter, one of the most straightforward he has made.

It relies substantially on the text and quietly effective performances of Michael Fassbender as Jung and Viggo Mortensen as Freud.

Only Keira Knightley as Spielrein has to do much emoting as the story progresses through the years up to the First World War. Though playing against two performers of considerable weight, she more than holds her own from the moment she arrives on the scene, a hysterical patient, to the time when her love for Jung is finally reciprocated.

The result is a film which the director calls an intellectual menage-a-trois with sexual overtones, and his first straight biopic.

It is a dark, troubling tale, set at the birth of psycho-analysis, that fictionalises reality with a calm appreciation of the passions that lay behind the trio's different views of treatment, cures and what is "normal" behaviour.

Cronenberg and his actors do their best to show that there is no such thing as normalcy since Jung, Freud and Spielrein, cannot cure themselves any more than they can guarantee to help their patients.

It is this that the film is most successful in emphasising and also the fact that a little neurosis does not harm to anyone.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:08 pm

http://www.hollywood.com/news/A_Dangerous_Method_Trailer_Michael_Fassbender_Viggo_Mortensen_Keira_Knightley/7835219

'A Dangerous Method' Trailer: Mortensen and Fassbender's Battle of Wits
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By Michael Arbeiter , Hollywood.com Staff | Thursday, September 01, 2011

ALTA Dangerous Method. Perhaps the most dangerous method of all, even. The upcoming David Cronenberg film takes one of the most important friendships in recent history—that between "Father of Psychology" Sigmund Freud, and "Psychology's Young Uncle Who Doesn't Call That Often" Carl Jung. Freud and Jung, together, developed the groundwork for arguably all of components we accept as modern psychology today. And if you disagree, you're probably just deflecting.

In A Dangerous Method, Freud (Viggo Mortenson) and Jung (Michael Fassbender) undertake experimental treatment on an abused young Russian girl (Kiera Knightley). Things get a little out of whack when Jung and Knightley's character expand their relationship beyond the appropriate bounds of doctor-patient.

So, basically, what we have here is your typical buddy comedy where a girl gets in the middle.

If you're interested in psychology, history, romance, interpersonal relationships, human sexuality, Fassbenders, accents or beards, then this is a movie worth opening your mind to.
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:10 pm

http://www.agi.it/english-version/people/elenco-notizie/201109021139-spe-ren1028-applause_for_cronenberg_s_film_at_venice_film_festival

APPLAUSE FOR CRONENBERG'S FILM AT VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

11:39 02 SET 2011

(AGI)Venice- The press applauded 'A Dangerous Method', David Cronenberg's latest film, in competition at the Venice Film Festival. The film, one of the favourites for the Golden Lion, is the story of the love triangle between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and their patient Sabina Spielrein, played respectively by Viggo Mortensen (Cronenberg's favourite actor), Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley. It also stars Vincent Cassel . .
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Post by Admin on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:11 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/a-dangerous-method-venice-film-230566

A Dangerous Method: Venice Film Review
1:45 AM PDT 9/2/2011 by Todd McCarthy

Dangerous Method
The Bottom Line

Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined, David Cronenberg's film about boundary-testing in the early days of psychoanalysis is brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances of Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender.
Opens

Nov. 23 (Sony Pictures Classics)
Cast

Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender,, Sarah Gadon, Vincent Cassel
Director

David Cronenberg


David Cronenberg's film, which stars Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender, explores Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung's falling-out over a beautiful, sexually hysterical patient.

“We have to go into uncharted territory,” the psychiatrist Carl Jung observes in regard to his own pioneering work, and the complex, fascinating topic of Jung's and Sigmund Freud's touchy relationship and eventual falling out over a beautiful, sexually hysterical patient has been grippingly explored by director David Cronenberg and writer Christopher Hampton in A Dangerous Method. Precise, lucid and thrillingly disciplined, this story of boundary-testing in the early days of psychoanalysis is brought to vivid life by the outstanding lead performances of Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender. Sure to be well received by festival audiences in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York (except, perhaps, by orthodox adherents of both physicians), this Sony Classics release should enjoy a vigorous life in specialized release.
our editor recommends
'A Dangerous Method': Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley Star in Historical Drama (Video)
Related Topics
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Shaking off any dusty remnants of a period biographical piece, the film tackles thorny psycho-sexual issues and matters of professional ethics with a frankness that feels entirely contemporary. Hampton's script is an outgrowth of his 2003 stage play The Talking Cure, which in turn was based on John Kerr's esteemed 1994 book A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein.

PHOTOS: Venice Film Festival: 10 Films to Know

Spielrein (Knightley) is a young Russian woman put under the care of Jung (Fassbender) at the Burgholzli mental hospital outside Zurich in 1904. Clearly intelligent, she is also subject to seizures so violent it looks as though she might turn inside out (if this were a different sort of Cronenberg film, she might have actually done so). Already a Freudian even though he has not yet met the master, Jung learns that Spielrein's sexual fear and sense of humiliation stems from abuse dished out by her father from the time she was four.

Screaming and alarmingly jutting out her jaw in extremis, Knightley starts at a pitch so high as to provoke fear of where she'll go from there. Fortunately, the direction is down; as her character, under Jung's fastidious care, gradually gets a grip on her issues and can assess herself with a measure of intellectual composure, the performance modulates into something fully felt and genuinely impressive.

As Jung, Fassbender creates the picture of a disciplined, successful young doctor; fastidiously groomed and sporting perfectly trimmed moustache and wire-rimmed glasses, he's got a proper, wealthy wife (Sarah Gadon), a child and a few more to come. Physically and tempermentally, he seems so trim and tight that he could almost bust apart; in fact, he must.

PHOTOS: The Scene at the 2011 Venice Film Festival

When the two analytical pathfinders eventually meet, they flatter one another and have much to discuss; for his part, Freud (a pleasantly aged Mortensen) is pleased to welcome a Catholic into his circle, given his concern over its perception as a strictly Jewish domain, while even at this early stage, Jung has misgivings at the older man's tendancy to connect nearly every symptom to sexuality.

Hampton pivots the drama on the character of another early analyst, Otto Gross (fierce Vincent Cassel), a cocaine addict sent by Freud to Jung. An obsessive whose motto is, “Don't repress anything,” Gross lives up to it by routinely sleeping with his patients and believes Freud (the father of six) is preoccupied by sex because he doesn't get any.

This sets Jung to agonizing over the question of why people devote so much effort to suppressing their most natural instincts, perhaps, in particular, himself. Goaded by Spielrein to divest her of her virginity, give her the sexual experience she lacks and “be ferocious” in the bargain, Jung finally casts off his habitual restraints and dives into a torrid affair with his patient, which has major implications for all three of the main characters.

Shortly after Spielrein insists that Jung admit everything to Freud, the two men sail to the United States to attend a conference. Gazing at Manhattan as their ship approaches, Freud wonders, “Do you think they know we're on our way, bringing them the plague?” It's a great line, and if indeed what they imported was a plague, it was one obliging individuals to look inward, analyze their behavior, ponder the balance of liberation and repression, question their nature rather than blandly accept it. Of all of Cronenberg's films, A Dangerous Method reminds most of the brilliant Dead Ringers, if only because they both so breathtakingly embrace the dramatic dualities within humans, especially when they brush up against the primal subjects of sex and death.

Despite having to cover stages in the trio's relationships spread over many years, Hampton's screenplay utterly coheres and never feels episodic. The dialogue is constantly confronting, articulate and stimulating, the intellectual exchanges piercing at times. Cronenberg's direction is at one with the writer's diamond-hard rigor; cinematographer Peter Suschitzky provides visuals of a pristine purity augmented by the immaculate fin de l'epoch settings, while the editing has a bracing sharpness than can only be compared to Kubrick's.

Along with Knightley's excellent work as a character with a very long emotional arc indeed, Fassbender brilliantly conveys Jung's intelligence, urge to propriety and irresistible hunger for shedding light on the mysteries of the human interior. A drier, more contained figure, Freud is brought wonderfully to life by Mortensen in a bit of unexpected casting that proves entirely successful.

Opens: Nov. 23 (Sony Pictures Classics)
Production: Recorded Picture Company
Sales: HanWay
Cast: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender,, Sarah Gadon, Vincent Cassel
Director: David Cronenberg
Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton, based on his play “The Talking Cure" and the book “A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein”
Producer: Jeremy Thomas
Executive producers: Thomas Sterchi, Matthias Zimmerman, Karl Spoerri, Stephan Mallmann, Peter Watson
Director of photography: Peter Suschitzky
Production designer: James McAteer
Costume designer: Denise Cronenberg
Editor: Ronald Sanders
Music: Howard Shore
R rating, 99 minutes
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