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Dangerous Method, A (DQ)


Stars: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon, Katharina Palm, Sarah Adams, André Hennicker

Director: David Cronenberg

'I haven't been sleeping very well, and I keep having this apocalyptic dream,' groans Dr Jung (Fassbender). If only director Cronenberg had pictured this dream, it might at least have livened up for a few moments this dull-as-ditchwater account of the friendship and falling-out of psychoanalysts Freud (Mortensen) and Jung in the early years of the 20th century.

As the content is about sex, we might expect this account to be fairly spicy if nothing else. Alas for false hopes; the sex scenes, such as they are, are as dry and devoid of any genuine passion as the rest of this far-too-studied film.

Discussions between Jung and Freud (though the English accents the actors choose to assume are absolutely impeccable, Mortensen's in particular) will lose your attention amidst a jungle (and jumble) of technical jargon about sexual repression and its consequences, as the film lurches dangerously close to becoming a boring and impenetrable lecture on the subject.

As the initially unhinged young woman who comes between the two men, Knightley comes on a bit too strong, but promising young Canadian actress Gadon gives a beautifully-judged performance as Jung's neglected wife. Peter Suschitzky's superb photography hits you like a breath of fresh air every time the film moves out of the stuffiness of the study, and the director's sense of period detail is faultless. Just a shame about the content.

In fairness, I ought to add that my wife loved this film. Perhaps it's a woman-man thing...

David Quinlan

USK/Canada/Germany/Switzerland 2011. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour by deluxe.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 05 Feb 2012