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A Dangerous Method(2011)
Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender star in director David Cronenberg's adaptation of Christopher Hampton's play detailing the deteriorating relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as they contend with a particularly troubled patient. The year is 1904. Carl Jung (Fassbender), a disciple of Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), is using Freudian techniques to treat Russian-Jewish psychiatric patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) at Burgh√∂lzli Mental Hospital. But the deeper Jung's relationship with Spielrein grows, the further the burgeoning psychiatrist and his highly respected mentor drift apart.
For more about A Dangerous Method and the A Dangerous Method Blu-ray release, see A Dangerous Method Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 23, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon, Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey
» See full cast & crew
A Dangerous Method Blu-ray Review
A quality film.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 23, 2012
Never repress anything.
There's nothing more dangerous, more inviting, more mysterious than the human mind. For all of the ills in the world, for all of the good that's also within it, all of the manmade is a product of the human mind. Misshape it, and trouble is sure to follow. Misuse it, and imagine the consequences. Fix it, and be hailed a genius. Define it, and become a legend. A Dangerous Method is a turn-of-the-century study of the birth of modern psychology. On either side are dueling characters attempting to sort out their approaches and champion their exacting methods. In the middle is a young fršulein, a troubled person with great challenges and equally great potential, which will only be realized if one or both of the men can mend her ills. David Cronenberg's latest picture abandons his usual violent and horrific stylings and stories to focus on the mind, which in a way seems only a logical progression and a passageway for even greater understanding of the endeavors that have yielded classic works such as The Fly, Scanners, and Videodrome, for it's not the senses but that which controls them, interprets them, hones them that's at the center of the human condition.
Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a deeply disturbed young Russian lady, arrives in 1904 Switzerland to fall under the care of renowned therapist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), a student of Sigmund Freud's method of psychoanalysis. Poor Sabina suffers from hysteria, attacks brought on by humiliation and, it is later discovered, sexual repression, leaving her nauseous, in a cold sweat, and uncontrollably shaken, all a result of childhood traumas. Though a challenge at first, Jung reaches Sabina through his "talking cure" method of treatment. The therapy proves successful, so much so that Jung takes her on as a personal assistant and, later, succumbs to her want (and need) to enter into a physical relationship. Jung's successes with Sabina grants him access to Freud (Viggo Mortensen) himself. The two form a personal and professional bond, though for their personal successes and admirations for one another's works, their belief structures and personal backgrounds lead to a schism between two of the most important figures of 20th century psychotherapy, all the while the healed Spielrein rushes towards her own destiny in the same field.
There's no doubt that A Dangerous Method deals in complicated characters and multifaceted themes. While the linear plot may prove fairly accessible, the film thrives on the intricacies of the story and the subtleties that engage the viewer and challenge the audience to identify the pros and cons of the work as it's shaped and honed through the film, as psychology is used not always as a means of healing, but sometimes as a method of manipulation. One of the film's central elements is the physical relationship between Jung and Spielrein, shaped not necessarily by true passion and authentic feelings but rather as a means of therapy, of sorts, in healing Spielrein from her repressed sexuality. The encounter disturbs Jung, which furthers the dynamic relationship between himself and Freud as it further shapes their personas and identifies their own methods and long-held beliefs as they influence those methods. The picture deals largely in method and hypothesis as much as it does practiced analysis. The picture's heavy academic overtones don't detract from one's ability to enjoy it from a purely aesthetic perspective and through its narrative structure, but ultimately the film demands of its audience some familiarity with at least its ideas if not its characters, the former not particularly a problem given how modern culture has been so heavily influenced by the ideas and practices as they are depicted in the film.
Cronenberg's direction is of the steady, unobtrusive sort that allows the story to be shaped by the narrative and the performances, not defined by visual eccentricities. Yet one cannot help but notice the dichotomy that is the relative darkness, fogginess, somewhat shapeless but potentially lucid mind of Spielrein and the formation of psychoanalytic techniques against what is an incredibly vibrant, open, clean, polished visual exterior. Indeed, the contrast between the discovery of the obscured and uncertain innermost needs of the mind, body, and soul contrasts wonderfully with Cronenberg's visuals, which seems to suggest or reinforce the idea that the outer cannot be trusted as a suitable judge of the inner, and vice versa. But no matter the why behind the film's style, the how proves just as remarkable. The picture enjoys a classic, refined appearance. The costume and set designs are splendid, and the subtle but critical digital effects seamlessly mesh with the whole. The three primary performances prove remarkably effective. Keira Knightley's performance dominates at all junctures, perhaps because it's the most active but perhaps because it's also quite authentic. The character's journey is evidenced as much by the physical as it is the emotional, and her progression through the stages and towards what ultimately becomes an almost completely new character proves one of the film's best assets. Needless to say, Fassbender and recent Cronenberg collaborator Mortensen are excellent as well, their parts a little less physically demanding but capturing the intellectual curiosity and developing professionalism of their craft with remarkable clarity.
A Dangerous Method Blu-ray, Video Quality
A Dangerous Method's 1080p transfer pretty much defines the word "stunning." Aside from a couple of brief instances of unobtrusive banding, this transfer delivers splendid high definition eye candy of the sweetest variety. Viewers will watch in awe even during the opening titles as the camera moves over finely-textured paper. Detail proves remarkably natural in every regard. From faces to building materials, from clothes to natural vegetation, the image never fails to reveal crisp, naturally-defined objects. Indeed, even clumps of leaves and collections of gravel are strikingly distinct, from side to side, top to bottom, and front to back. Clarity is breathtaking, depth is evident, sharpness is naturally consistent, and a light layer of film grain rounds out a gorgeous cinematic texture. The image is also vibrant and naturally so. Colors are handsome and perfectly balanced, whether warm woods, bright ribbons, pure whites, and deep blacks. Flesh tones are steady and natural, and black crush is never cause for concern. The image suffers from no maladies other than that minuscule banding. A Dangerous Method represents just another jewel in Sony's Blu-ray crown.
A Dangerous Method Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A Dangerous Method features a quality DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Though it lacks much in terms of audible pizazz, the track yields subtle nuanced effects without flaw. Light ambience plays cleanly and accurately, making fine use of the spacing afforded to it by the multichannel presentation. Trotting horses, the din of a busy shipyard, and general outdoor elements play easily and naturally. Music delivery is satisfying, full, and crisp. The picture is largely comprised of dialogue, which is handled smoothly and accurately through the center channel. There might not be much to it, but there's nothing at all wrong with what's here, either, making for another fine audio presentation from Sony.
A Dangerous Method Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Dangerous Method contains several extras, the package headlined by a Cronenberg commentary and interview piece.
A Dangerous Method Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A Dangerous Method delivers classic, subtle, intellectually stimulating filmmaking, and what better subject than the human mind for such an endeavor. David Cronenberg's latest film may not look or sound like the David Cronenberg films by which most audiences will know the director, but a dialogue-heavy period film though it may be, the picture plays with a fascinating rhythm and purpose as it tears apart the human mind by way of putting it back together. Great photography, superior costumes and set design, and precision acting make A Dangerous Method a must-see film. Sony's Blu-ray release of A Dangerous Method delivers pristine video, fantastic audio, and a few good extras. Highly recommended.
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A Dangerous Method Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: March 27-April 3 - March 26, 2012
This week, Warner Home Entertainment releases the 70th Anniversary Edition of Casablanca, and every aspect of its design seems carefully calculated to stave off cries of double-dipping; Warner gave the film a new 4K scan, fancy Ultimate Collector's Edition packaging, ...
• A Dangerous Method Blu-ray (Updated) - February 12, 2012
In an early retail announcement, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has revealed plans to bring A Dangerous Method to Blu-ray. Directed by David Cronenberg (A History of Violence), this drama focuses on the fraught relationship between psychoanalysts Carl Jung (Michael ...
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