Feature

A Dangerous Method

A rift develops between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Freud's protégé, when Jung begins an affair with a patient.

Directed by David Cronenberg
(R)

When an offbeat director “decides to exercise restraint on screen,” the “results are invariably worth the effort,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. David Cronenberg, the man behind the nightmare visions in The Fly and Naked Lunch, may seem an unlikely director for a period drama about the rift that develops between Sigmund Freud and his protégé Carl Jung when Jung begins an affair with a troubled patient. Then again, Cronenberg has always been fascinated by “the creative and destructive force of sexuality.” Keira Knightley provides the low point of the film in its very first scene, said Peter Rainer in CSMonitor.com. Affecting a hysterical fit, she grossly overacts. But “her performance calms down eventually,” while Viggo Mortensen’s “sly enactment of Freud’s low-key superciliousness” may be the film’s highlight. Michael Fassbender, playing an agonizing Jung, may have the tougher job, but both roles feel like “Oscar bait,” said Richard Corliss in Time. Small visual flourishes elevate the entire effort. Cronenberg, we’re reminded, “is not just the coroner of bodily horror but a master picture-maker.”

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