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A Dangerous Method


 

A Dangerous Method

Michael Fassbender stars as a mild-mannered Carl Jung, who graduates from treating his barking-mad Russian patient (Keira Knightley) to paddling her bare bottom in an adulterous affair. Despite that kinky interlude, given that it’s directed by David Cronenberg, the most shocking thing about this elegant biopic is that it’s not shocking. Scripted by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons), it unfolds as a loquacious essay on the origins of psychoanalysis—enlivened by some wry repartee from Viggo Mortensen, who steals every scene as Sigmund Freud, and gets more mileage out of a cigar than anyone since Groucho Marx. Vincent Cassel adds some rich diversion as radical psychoanalyst Otto Gross, who believes in indulging erotic impulses regardless of their propriety, and goads Jung into betraying his wife (played with China-doll poise by Canadian newcomer Sarah Gadon.


 
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