A Dangerous Method: Is Something Remiss With David Cronenberg?

The great David Cronenberg, the guy who brought us such classic horror films as: Scanners, Rabid, and The Fly, then in the new millennium expanded his repertoire to include crime drama with Eastern Promises and A History of Violence seems to have gone off the deep end.

His latest film, A Dangerous Method, is in post-production and scheduled for release sometime in 2011 has shirked both genres to fancy a foray into historical period pieces of the psychoanalytic kind. Cronenberg continues his relationship with actor Viggo Mortensen, which he began with Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. Mortensen stars as Sigmund Freud, yes the old Austrian guy who invented psychoanalysis by poking at the brains of upper-class women in Vienna.

A Dangerous Method, Viggo Mortensen

The main story of A Dangerous Method centers on the relationship between Freud and his once protégé then estranged colleague Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender). The two began a correspondence in 1906, met in 1907, and parted ways in 1910. Keira Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein, the young, beautiful, and troubled woman who, according to writer Christopher Hampton, was the main reason for the split.

Any fan of early Cronenberg who enjoyed seeing porn stars playing predators, brain fights till heads exploded, and gross metamorphoses questioned the director in his choice to move over to crime drama. But we adapted and found some merit in naked Russian mobsters and hit men running small-town cafés. But we must draw the line at two brainiacs fighting over a crazy chick, even if she is the gorgeous Knightley.

A Dangerous Method by David Cronenberg

Unless we at Yell! Magazine are missing something, which doesn’t seem to be the case, although we will reserve full condemnation until we see the film, we think Cronenberg has lost his mind. Perhaps instead of making a film about psychoanalysis he should seek some out himself.

A Dangerous Method, Keira Knightley

A Dangerous Method, Keira Knightley

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Have Your Say Leave A Comment

  • HK

    Looks like he’s aiming for an award. Your mindset changes overtime … what can you do about it. I’ll definitely check it out to see as much Cronenberg as I can.

  • Barney

    You never saw Spider? Naked Lunch? M Butterfly? None of these have anything to do with “early Cronenberg” as they’re as different from the movies he started his career with as are A History of Violence or Eastern Promises.
    Cronenberg simply is a director who always consequently refused to get stuffed into a certain category. Which you as a viewer either love and respect him for or, being a narrow-minded fool, reject and whine about. Seems you fall into the latter category. Too bad for you. I, on the other hand, look forward to his next unique, wonderful, quirky movies which never cease to amaze and entertain me.

    • JimBeam

      Cronenberg obviously has a unique touch to all his movies (we know that) and they show in his recent movies enough, but to say narrow-minded and whine about is a bit much. This is just an opinion piece. Being a fan of his older stuff is fine, I myself stopped after Existenz. Everything after that I feel has left my memory. The movies you mentioned I’d have to re-watch and really see if I admire them. I also personally like the effort put into movies when there is a budget constraint which Cronenberg had to face in his early stuff, because no one would invest enough in his vision. Having a higher budget with good looking actors and special effects don’t always do justice. We will just have to see how this one goes.

  • VoR

    Get your facts straight. This is not a film about two brainiacs fighting over a crazy chick and the story does not center on the relationship between Jung and Freud.
    Mortensen’s role is a supporting one and there’s no hint of anything romantic going on between Freud and Spielrein.
    Also, Freud wasn’t German.

    Overall a very poor effort. Must try harder.

    • Thanks for pointing out our error in calling Freud German. It has been corrected. As for the themes of the movie, I’ll let our writer respond to that if he so chooses.

      Thanks again,

      • Yes, he was Austrian. I should have put German-speaking rather than just German, sorry for the mistake.

        Rod Harshcore.

    • Rod Harshcore

      “A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.” – imdb

      “Set on the eve of World War I, A Dangerous Method is based on the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them.” – wikipedia

      based on these two corroborations, I think my facts are straight.

      as for the comment “early Cronenberg” read below:

      Shivers, Rabid, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly (1975 – 1986)

      Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, M. Butterfly, eXistenZ, Crash, Spider (1988- 2002)

      A History of Violence and Eastern Promises (2005 – Present)

      As you can see there are three categories roughly:

      Early – horror and the great stuff from Cronenberg

      Middle – more thriller/psychological drama, average caliber Cronenberg

      Late – crime drama, an improvement over the middle but far less fun than the early.

      Here at Yell! we enjoy horror best, its one of our main raisons d’etre. therefore early Cronenberg was the best Cronenberg. Others may have different opinions but I would guess most would mention early Cronenberg as his greatest period and his films from 75-86 as their favourite.