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A Dangerous Method

April 8, 2012

These two posters suggest two totally different films. The first is a character study/historical drama…The Second is a sexy/sassy period romp.

A Dangerous Method is historical fiction that could only be done by David Cronenberg. The editing, pacing, directing and acting are all top-notch. This movie could have fallen face first into the dirt in the hands of a less capable director.

The thing I loved most about this film was the shot selection. The movie is essentially about four people talking. However, the shots are incredibly unique in that they never settle for a flat shot whilst people talk intelligently.

To keep from the shots from being flat Cronenberg mixed it up by framing half of the shot around windows, doors and strategic art. The shots look excellent and manage to make drab rooms look interesting. It must have been a mighty struggle to create vivid scenery amidst a psychoanalysts office.

Watching this movie felt like a semester in film school. It is an education on how to make a movie about intellectual giants and their trials and sexual/philosophical tribulations. The intertwining stories between Sabina Spielrein, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Otto Gross all feel natural when they should be boring.

The actors are all top-notch and deliver the rapid fire intellectual speak naturally. It never feels like an actor acting. When I first heard Kiera Knightley’s Russian accent it reminded me of the REM song “it’s the end of the world as we know it.” However, after getting into the character I felt fine about her portrayal of Sabina.

The movie feels immersive because of the tone and performances. This movie could have reeked of pretentiousness but instead exudes confidence in the source material. It is a wonderful treat to see a director in such great form. I was hoping that during the credits David would run out and do the Aaron Rodgers double-check.

This movie reminded me of a scene in the film Major League 2. There is a moment when the coach is in the hospital  due to a heart attack. He cannot get too excited so he listens to the baseball game via hidden headphones. The nurse thinks he is watching a stuffy British show. The manager gets excited about the game and starts jumping up and down and screams “I love this British sh**!”

A Dangerous Method is not British. However, it is an expertly crafted film that manages to be a thrilling work of a beloved director. What is thrilling do you ask? He made a movie about four genius humans who analyze each other in a non thriller fashion. That is an accomplishment in itself.

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