Starring the power-packed cast of Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method plays out the mental torments and ponderings of the deranged as well as their supposed doctors.
When 18-year-old Jewish Russian Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a formidable patient with the case of hysteria, arrives at Dr Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) in 1904, she intrigues the doctor both professionally as well as on a personal level. Though he successfully improves her condition, they also embark on a dangerous love affair in which Spielrein later adopts an interest in psychiatry. Later, the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), enters the picture when Jung heads to Vienna. Hereby, the relationship gets complicated, alternating between friends and foes, with each man's involvement with Spielrein complicating matters.
Directed by David Cronenberg (Dead Ringers, A History of Violence), who has a long history of making films related to violence, insanity and sex, one may proceed to the theatre with the expectation of visually stimulating images. However, you will be let down in this aspect despite its potential. Though with Knightley going all out in her role – her face contorts and twists so drastically I feared for her.
On the other hand, those looking for intellectual stimulation will be treated to the history and methods of psychoanalysis. Especially through the meeting of the two giants, key concepts and elements of psychotherapy was discussed and illustrated though, as the film continues, clear differences between the two men's thoughts are observed too.
The state of the human mind, the efficacy of psychotherapy and ethics are the three main themes discussed in this film, adapted from John Kerr's book as well as Christopher Hampton's play – a intellectually stimulating watch for the year.