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3.6 out of 5 stars146
3.6 out of 5 stars
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On some levels it works really well, but on others it appears plan revisionist. As if the early psycho therapeutic world was only composed of Freud and Jung. In reality there was a multi-tussle of dynamics between Adler, Jones, Freud, Ferenczi, Jung, Stekel, Rank, Reich and numerous others.

Otto Gross gets a look in, but only to highlight a counterpoint to the more considered Jung. Gross requested the need for more promiscuity. In terms of a bio pic, the Grand daddy of the drop out, deserves a film all to himself and the snap shot in this film does not do him justice.

Otto Gross, the son of Hans Gross, was the perfect child, hammered into submission into being a carbon copy of Daddy. He took to the Adlerian polarity, shifting from inferiority to superiority and rebelled against the dominating values. As a result he ignited the first stirrings of an emancipation for all.

Unfortunately it was the expense of his own wife and children. However trapped within a Victorian/Wilhelmine straightjacket, there were few compass bearings for an individual revolt against all values. Drawing on Stirner, Nietzsche and Bachofen he began to usher in a more individual view. Meanwhile as he sped away from Freud he also fought out a father-son battle. The upshot was he began to self medicate for being overpowered.

A theme that is only lightly touched upon in the film. For those who are interested it is well worth looking him up, a forgotten therapist who worked to influence, Eric Muhsam and Gustav Landauer, touching Kafka, DH Lawrence, Reich and the whole field of sexual liberation.

Jung is portrayed well by Fassbinder, but he lacks a dynamic, a will to power. His ideas arrive as an outside spring into being, suddenly spurting up within conversation and speculation rather than through experience. Telepathy, ancestor myths, collective unconscious, folk memories, the occult all arise without any precedent.

Freud appears to be infused with some human qualities in the film. The man who launched a new paradigm, whilst sailing to no known destination appears pensive rather than tyrannical. The film is dominated by him and his presence.

Speilrein is one of the many female victims of the era and the main focus of the film. Her plight connects to Stekel's main contribution to the therapeutic discipline; an area that Jung seemingly shied away from - sexual paraphilias.

Stekel looked at female sexuality and explored the depths of pathological sexualities along with the various fetishes. Here we see Keira playing the woman committed to a more enlightened type of asylum, run by Jung, as he falls for his patient.

Within the relationship she represents the untamed Dionysian world, whilst he is bound by the more formal discipline of the Apollonian world of wealth, as he is seduced by his wife's money.

The iron bound strictures which surrounded this particular world become apparent as they keep everyone trapped in codes. The sexual preferences of Speilrein and her constant need to return to the sites of her child humiliation - these are well represented. They also provide the film with some titillation. The various splits between Jews and Aryans are also part of the conundrum of the era. Jung was later to embrace National Socialism. Freud was to flee to the UK.

The film, for the viewer is slow paced and it could have been far racier had it concentrated on the clash between the elder and younger Gross along with the flight to find freedom. As it stands it is interesting, ponderous and it provides a certain myopic window onto the early strands of psychotherapy.

A far bigger story however is waiting in the wings.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With the quality of those involved, this had the potential to be a really interesting piece of cinema. Sadly I found the whole thing to be rather disappointing.

The acting is of a good standard and the direction concise. My problem was simply that I couldn't engage with the characters sufficiently to really care about their stories. And without that engagement, the film cannot be said to have fully succeeded.

Hampton's screenplay has had a troubled past - and some of the fault does seem to lie there.

It is worth watching - but probably not more than once...

A shame as there is an interesting set of characters with a fascinating story at the heart of this.
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on 10 June 2014
Although it is well mounted, I found 'A Dangerous Method' to be disappointing, particularly in view of the high calibre of the cast. I was expecting more confrontational from this Freud vs. Jung period piece, It may improve on a second viewing but it seemed to lack that certain chemistry needed to make it work.

Chris Allen is a Technical Author and writer with the following books available through Amazon:
The Beam of Interest: Taken by Storm
Hypnotic Tales 2013: Some Light Some Dark
Call of the Void: The Strange Life and Times of a Confused Person: 1
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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2013
Caution: this review does contain spoilers. This is a David Cronenberg film based on a play, which was based on a book, both of which may be better than the film, which besides some crazy jaw-jutting acting from Keira Knightley, a bizarre spanking scene and good performances by Michael Fassbender as the young Carl Jung and Viggo Mortensen as his aged mentor Sigmund Freud, has little in the way of actual `meat'.

While it is a vaguely interesting exploration of Carl Jung it says little about Freud beyond the notion that he was obsessed with sex despite being portrayed as a monogamous and slightly pompous pipe smoking old fart. I was also disappointed that Jungian theory of dreams and superstition was not explored and we were presented with a snippet of his life revolving around his affair with Sabina Spielrein (Knightley).

Spielrein is at turns completely hysterical and brilliantly insightful as she challenges both Jung's and Freud's theories of psychoanalysis and demands to be spanked by married man and father, Jung. Jung eventually caves in and then later ends the affair in a fit of guilt, much to Sabina's distress. By way of revenge she destroys the friendship between Jung and Freud and leaves Jung on the edge of the nervous breakdown he would later have, but not before investing in another mistress.

This is a good film to watch if you are a fan of any of the lead actors as they are all on form, but offers no great entertainment as a story itself.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you want to see sumptuous period costumes, a drama of manners from the immediate pre-WW1 years highlighting the prejudices and discrimination of the times, some deep philosophy, and some tortured souls resolving their anguish, then enjoy this film. If you need a high octane action thriller full of chases and bullets then look elsewhere.

The film is as the Az blurb describes; a (mostly) true story focusing on the growth of the relationship between Jung (Fassbender) and Freud (Mortensson), as sparked by the catalyst of a patient Sabina Spielrein (Knightley), and their efforts in the development of the science of psychoanalysis. The action takes place between approximately 1904 and 1914.

The production is stunning with superb location sets and breathtaking scenery. The bulk of the action could almost be performed as a stage play, but the script and dialogue benefit from the more intimate settings which only the close-ups of the film can achieve. The dialogue was crystal clear at all times, and the background music served only to highlight the mood and was never intrusive.

At times I found the storyline a bit long winded, and had to remind myself that this was based on reality and the extensive correspondence between the main protagonists. The actors were convincing, sufficiently so that I found myself disliking some of the characters and losing interest in the film. Parts of it reminded me of Bette Davis's classic film Now Voyager, but I don't think they should be compared.

On my Vine evaluation DVD although the first audio option claimed to be 3/2.1 surround, this was actually identical to the 2.0 stereo option. Fortunately my amplifier was able to synthesise a reasonable surround from the info buried in there.

Additional material on my DVD includes an interesting Extra with a few minutes on the making of the film, as well as Cronenberg's commentary in the third audio option for the film itself. On the Set Up menu it also has available English Audio Description and/or Subtitles.
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This is a film which crosses the boundaries of patient relationship as psychologist 'Carl Jung'
(Michael Fassbender) becomes infatuated with patient 'Sabina Spieiren' (Keira Knightley)
leading to an intense affair.
'Carl' shares his thoughts regarding psychological study with leading expert 'Sigmund Freud'
(Viggo Mortensen)
The three main characters lives becoming intertwined only to fall away through difference of opinions.
A story based on true events set prior to the outbreak of world war '1'
An intense story, certainly worth a visit.
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on 6 July 2013
If the word "clinical" can be applied to psychoanalysis it can certainly be applied to this film. Cronenberg tries to encapsulate the early days of Jungian and Freudian psychology into the plot, but at its heart (such as it has one) it focuses on the Sabine Spielrein story which, unfortunately for the director, is much better related in the 2002 Anglo-Italian-French coproduction known in English as "The Soul Keeper" Prendimi l'anima - (easy collection) [DVD] [2013]. There's no visible Freud in the earlier film - his role has been exaggerated here to cast a wider net of "significance" - Jung is played just as well (by Iain Glen), Spielrein is portrayed sympathetically and effectively by Emilia Fox without Knightley's bizarre accent or playing to the gallery, Jung's wife is more convincing and, unlike "A Dangerous Method", it is genuinely affecting rather than po-faced and sterile, with no gratuitous sadomasochism thrown in in a desperate attempt to spice things up.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 February 2012
Tracing the footprints of my maturity. Carl Gustav Jung wrote 'The Undiscovered Self' a slim volume read in my early twenties. Sigmund Freud gave me the tools to understand dreams and to understand sexuality. Those tools are words. Those words are littered all over 'A Dangerous Method.' The ego, repression, libido, symbolism, neurotic and biggest of all: freedom.

Freedom is being psychoanalysed in 'A Dangerous Method.' A woman has her childhood pain revealed to herself through the talking method. She finds it liberates her sexuality. But it is the welcoming embrace of a dream job offer which really locates herself.

A man who finds sex at any 'oasis' is battling with a man who wants to remain in a monogamous relationship, his wife gives him some rope then reins it in when he is taking the...

Meanwhile a father figure is unrepentant in his belief that the sexual urge is behind everything. He has found a new land even though he does not yet know what lies ahead. He is the solid rock denying the chance for more intuitive reasoning to bloom. He is a man of science.

I look forward to the dvd release of A Dangerous Method and recommend it should be viewed and then reflected upon. Responsibly.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had been quite excited by the idea of this film - boundary pushing director David Cronenberg taking a look at the early days of psychoanalysis, a subject that has clearly had a large part to play in many of his earlier films. It centres around Michael Fassbender's very human Carl Jung and his relationships with patients, family and Sigmund Freud (a charismatic Viggo Mortensen). It has talented actors (apart from Keira Knightly as one of Jung's patients - she does fine hamming up the hysterical fits, but has all the expression of a plank when required to do some more subtle acting), and a director who usually finds new and interesting ways in which to explore his subjects, but the film really falls flat.

In many ways it is too pedestrian, too safe. Fassbender nicely portrays a man always thinking, always analysing, trying to find ways to understand his patients and to help them. This leads him to some potentially interesting situations, and a meeting with the father of psychoanalysis, Freud. It is in the scenes between Freud and Jung that the film really takes off, the interaction between the questioning Jung and the charismatic and controlling Freud being the core of the film. Then all too soon we are back to Jung and his relationship with Keira Knightly's Sabina, one of Jung's patients, which plays out a lot like a typical tired love triangle.

Moments of inspiration, long stretches of flat tedium, great central performances from Fassbender and Mortensen but overall ruined by the much overrated Knightly. Directed seemingly without much interest by someone who usually produces much better work. 2 stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 February 2012
Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" is mainly about the relationship between two early giants of psychoanalysis, Freud and Jung, played by Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbinder . This is captured in some witty, often humorous and well-acted scenes which made me want to find out more about both the men and their theories. Freud hopes that Jung, almost two decades his junior, will carry on the torch of his controversial ideas on the sexual basis of mental disorder, but cannot tolerate Jung's tendency to follow his own independent line, including telepathy and psychic powers, which Freud finds simply potty, not to mention the irritation of having his authority challenged.

A further complication is Jung's treatment with his new "talking cure" of the hysterical young Russian Jewess Sabina Spielrein, who recovers to become a celebrated psychoanalyst in her own right, but not before providing a fatal attraction for Jung.

The photography is beautiful, with many scenes of Swiss lakes or striking statues against a background of Viennese palaces. The large amount of "walking and talking" reflects the fact this film is based on a stage play by the ubiquitous Christopher Hampton. I also liked the attention to the period detail of the early 1900s: Jung's wealthy wife works on her embroidery the day after giving birth to her first child, while a buxom wet nurse suckles the infant. Freud's identification with Spielrein, as a Jew, and growing awareness of Jung as an Aryan, foreshadows the horrors of the Holocaust.

The quality of the acting is mainly excellent, with Fassbinder in particular showing a clear progression from controlled, ambitious up-and-coming physician, to a wreck on the verge of a nervous breakdown himself, troubled by dreams of carnage which we know are remarkably prescient on the verge of World War 1. Keira Knightley's portrayal of madness in the opening scenes seems grotesquely exaggerated, and her recovery remarkably rapid - she is most frightening when "sane" but thwarted in love.

Although neither a great film nor as good as it might have been, overall this is a well-made contribution to a fascinating theme. At 1 hour 40 minutes, it avoids the error of going on too long.
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