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"...I've Opened A Door..." - A Dangerous Method on BLU RAY,
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This review is from: Dangerous Method [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
For some time now I've been harbouring the suspicion that Kiera Knightley may indeed be one of the best actresses in the world. "Never Let Me Go", "London Boulevard", "Last Night" and "Pride And Prejudice" - all brilliant performances. But her work in David Cronenberg's Jung vs. Freud movie is truly astonishing - playing the part of a deeply troubled Russian woman with a masochistic streak.
It's August 1904 - and a horse and carriage are rushing towards the peaceful idyllic mountainside Clinic of Burghozli near Zurich in Switzerland. Inside is a Jewish woman being restrained by nurses - screaming like a mad dog - and in such mental torment that you feel her whole body will contort into a werewolf at any moment. She is Sabina Spielrein and her father first abused her at the age of four - beating her with a stick and then making her kiss his hand afterwards.
But worse than the fear and ritual humiliation - is the fact that as the years passed - it excited her. And now her feelings of revulsion go so deep that personal growth let alone freedom from what was inflicted on her - seem impossible to achieve. That is until Carl Jung walks into her room - and without any threat - only wants to 'talk'. Over time as the trust and his new form of expression therapy helps - the contortions lessen - and Sabina blossoms into a contributing young woman (she wants to be a doctor). Soon there is even an intellectual bond between her and Jung that is profound, honest and growing...
Based on real-life events - Michael Fassbender plays the idealistic and humane Swiss Doctor Carl Jung - sharing ideas with and being mentored by the grizzly Viggo Mortensen as the mighty matriarch of psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud. Jung shares his home with the wealthy Emma (Sarah Gadon) - a wife who is pregnant but worried her husband is losing interest in her. In some respects - he is absent. Tired of administering to men with athlete's foot - Jung longs to matter and help people in real pain. He is obsessed with his work. But to Jung's irritation - his mentor Freud seems entrenched in his belief that all psychosis and mental malady stem from events of a sexual nature. Both great thinkers clash over theories (their first conversation lasts over 13 hours) and both are wisely wary of an establishment incoherent with rage at the mere mention of sex - let alone its meaning - or ability to cure.
Thrown into this ménage-a-trois is Dr. Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel) - a man who sleeps with his wife, nurses and even patients. Otto confesses to a shocked (and a little naïve) Jung that he finds monogamy "a stressful concept" and rues the fact that "...one of life's great pleasures is subject to hysteria and repression." But this lothario plants a seed in Jung's mind about Sabina that sees the Swiss psychiatrist looking up at her apartment window with sexual longing...
"A Dangerous Method" is exquisitely filmed - with production values, location settings and costumes that are jaw dropping to say the least. But best of all is the double-whammy of top-class acting bolstered up by a screenplay bristling with intelligence and verbal exchanges (script by Christopher Hampton). This is a film that discusses ideas about self, dreams and psyche - that goes to places that are rarely filmed - and in a rational and loving way. The Extras include a Director's Commentary and 'Making Of' - the Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Surround 5.1 while the lone Subtitle is English For The Hearing Impaired.
Typical of the media and even the sellers of the film - too much press focused on the pervy - doing the rest of the movie a major injustice in my opinion. Even the outer card slipcase salaciously tells us that it's - "...An Intoxicating Cocktail of Sex, Repression and Violent Passion". I'd argue that "A Dangerous Method" is so much better than that - and Keira should have pulled a Statue for her portrayal of a woman beating such horrendous odds.
Jung says of Freud's insistence that all things are rooted in sex - "There must be more than one hinge into the Universe..."
Check out this minor masterpiece and find out if he discovered any of the others...