Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Dangerous Method

Sabina Spielrein, Russian with extreme psychological disorder, arrives at the clinic where young Carl Yung is working. This is the start of a difficult and intense relationship between Sabina, Yung and Sigmund Freud, which will enrich all of them and will give birth to psychoanalysis.

I am a great fan of Keira Knightly, and I have been waiting for this movie since its release in September 2011 on the Venice Film Festival. Eventually, it arrived in Britain almost half a year later, and it was almost impossible to find it in the cinemas.

The movie is an adaptation of the book "A Most Dangerous Method" by John Kerr, and it is a very poor adaptation. There are some movies adapted from the books that run smoothly, without considerable losses of cohesion or plot details. Just recall the last Harry Potter movie: despite pretty poor source, the movie itself is easy to watch and still interesting even for those who read the book several times.

This is not the case with A Dangerous Method though. The storyline is patchy, it is sometimes possible to guess where the chapters of the book start and end. The film is overloaded with time skips; even in small amounts they could make the movie boring and hard to follow, never mind the amounts used in Dangerous Method.

Also, one might wonder why to use those time skips so extensively anyway. The storyline is fantastic, it captures attention, it makes you interested throughout the film, and I was only begging for more: more details of characters, more events in between what was shown, simply more of the movie! But I was denied – the movie is pretty short at 99 minutes, and it is clear that authors scrambled to squeeze in everything possible at the price of development of the characters.

The characters themselves are amazing. I don’t know whether this is what they were at the time, but it is easy to believe so – they are coherent, interesting, smart individuals, and you see how the relationship between them affects their perceptions, beliefs and moral standards. I can only praise the work of Keira as Sabina, Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross. The latter had a pretty small role but he shined with perfection all the time he was on the screen. Mortensen played as over-confidently as I imagined the real Freud behaved; the gestures and posture were flawless.

VERDICT: Great characters amazingly performed by stunning actors in remarkably short movie which jumps around the timeline.
WATCH: If you plan to read the book; or simply want to know more about the pioneers of psychoanalysis.

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