Friday, 13 January 2012

A DANGEROUS METHOD - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Cronenberg's boring Masterpiece Theatre episode of "Jung and the Art of Spanking" is now in theatrical release. Please avoid it!

A Dangerous Method (2011) dir. David Cronenberg
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley


Review By Greg Klymkiw

When David Cronenberg is good, he is very, very good.

When he is bad, he’s cerebral.

A Dangerous Method is dour, dull and decidedly humourless. That said, the first few minutes do suggest we’re in for a hootenanny of the highest order. The score, oozing with portent over a twitching, howling, clearly bonkers Keira Knightley, thrashing about in a horse-drawn carriage as it hurtles towards Carl Jung’s Swiss nuthouse, initially suggested a belly flop into the maw first pried open by such Cold War wacko-fests like The Snake Pit or Shock Corridor.

Alas, Cronenberg seems to have abandoned his pulp sensibilities and instead appears to be making an Atom Egoyan movie fused with Masterpiece Theatre. Sorry David, Atom Egoyan makes the best Atom Egoyan movies. And Egoyan has never, nor will he ever make Masterpiece Theatre. However, if Cronenberg himself genuinely fused Masterpiece Theatre with The Snake Pit and, say, Salon Kitty or The Story of O, with dollops of the madhouse scenes in Ken Russell's The Music Lovers, then he might have generated something not guaranteed to induce snores.

Cronenberg’s unwelcome return to the cold and clinical approach from his pre-Eastern Promises and A History of Violence oeuvres quashes all hope for a rollicking good wallow in lunacy.

Come on, David, we’re dealing with psychoanalysis and sex here.

A little oomph might have been in order. (Or as Norman Jewison is wont to say, "A little bit of the old razzle-dazzle.")

Lord knows Cronenberg’s dealt deliciously with psychoanalysis and sex before – most notably in The Brood. It starred a visibly inebriated Oliver Reed, crazily cooing about "the Shape of Rage" amid spurts of horrific violence laced with a riveting creepy tone. Most notably the movie provided us with the indelible image of a semi-nude, utterly barmy Samantha Eggar adorned with monstrous pus sacks dangling from her flesh, licking globs of gooey, chunky afterbirth from a glistening mutant baby expunged from one of the aforementioned pus sacks.

Now, THAT'S entertainment!

Annoyingly, no similar shenanigans are on view in A Dangerous Method. It’s pretty much a Masterpiece Theatre-styled period chamber drama with with Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) jousting with his mentor-rival Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) betwixt spanking sessions with Keira Knightley, a daft want-to-be-psychiatrist with Daddy issues.

Sadly, no proper views of open palms connecting with buttocks or slap imprints on said buttocks are afforded to us.

A pity.