April 19, 2012

Justify My Netflix: A Dangerous Method

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

A Dangerous Method

Today's movie: A Dangerous Method, 2011 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is the latest by David Cronenberg; and as regular readers know, I'm in the process of trying to become a completist of David Cronenberg's work. (This now makes it 12 of his 16 full-length features that I've seen.)

The reality: Great as always! And really, how can you complain when it comes to David Cronenberg doing an edgy historical drama about the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, the early history of psychiatry, and Jung's long suppressed theories about how mysticism is an integral part of the psychoanalytical process? I mean, sure, it doesn't sound at first like something up his alley; but under the increasingly masterful hands of this inventor of "body-horror," Cronenberg really highlights the way that perversion, physical deformity and resulting mental sickness played such a heavy role in what was otherwise a very straight-laced Victorian and then Edwardian society that these trailblazers all lived in, a movie that like his other recent character-based dramas as Eastern Promises and A History of Violence seem at first to be more button-downed stories than such infamous early mindf-cks as Scanners and The Fly, but that reveal themselves under Cronenberg's subtle command to be just as teeming with simultaneous terror of and worship for all the wrong little bits of human existence. It's an example of a director truly getting things right as their career matures -- of both expanding and refining their artistic vision as the years progress, they get older and wiser, and past successes stack up evermore opportunities to branch out -- and I have to confess, I think Cronenberg might be the singlemost interesting working director out of everyone on the planet these days, with A Dangerous Method yet another near-perfect feather in his increasingly heavy hat. It comes strongly recommended if you still haven't seen it yet.

Strangest piece of trivia: At one point, Christian Bale was considered for the part of Jung.

Worth your time? Yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 9:55 AM, April 19, 2012. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |