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Sabina Spielrein (#110 of 1)

New York Film Festival 2011: A Dangerous Method

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New York Film Festival 2011: <em>A Dangerous Method</em>
New York Film Festival 2011: <em>A Dangerous Method</em>

The teasing sense of humor that David Cronenberg has infected A Dangerous Method, his adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play The Talking Cure, with is a big part of why the film is unmistakably Cronenberg’s finest since 2002’s Spider. Because A Dangerous Method follows Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as they butt heads over their respective theories of psychoanalysis, it stands to reason that the smallest gesture in the film is full of meaning. Repeated tics, like the placement of hands on hips, or even when one character suffers a sudden, seizure-like paroxysm right after Jung discusses the symbolic death of one of his patients’ fathers, are rather funny. But these actions also connote so much without really saying anything at all. Leave it to Cronenberg to make a nip slip a telling sign of the schizoid nature of Sabina Spielrein, one of Jung’s most infamous patients. Cronenberg constantly uses overloaded images, including, yes, a cigar, to intrude on and indirectly raise the stakes of his film’s central drama. These absurdly loaded images serve to subversively heighten the pathos inherent in Hampton’s source drama.