I’m not sure what Keira Knightly thought she was doing in this pic, but if it’s method acting, that’s where the danger lies.
This period piece, written by Christopher Hampton (Atonement, The Quiet American) is about psychologist Carl Jung’s (Michael Fassbender) affair with Sabrina Spielrein – a Russion hysteric portrayed rather manically by miss Knightly. Or is it actually about the relationship between Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson). Or is it really about the early days of clinical psychology? Or is it about repressed sexuality?
The story centers on Jung’s treatment of his patient Spielrein, through talk therapy (the titular ‘Dangerous Method”). His succes leads him into a closer relationship with Freud. But it all goes sour as Jung oversteps his professional boundaries at great cost to himself and
I have no idea. As I left the cinema I felt quite perplexed about what I had just seen. Yes, the sets were all well lit, costumes up to scratch and the camera work was professionally done. But never at any time throughout the picture did I feel involved or even slightly interested in what I was watching. The intellectual discourses felt staged and off kilter, the acting was – the god awful Knightly aside – okay, but what the film sorely lacked was any kind of soul, heart and gusto. It did attract some laughs, but I was never sure whether they were meant to be.
One pet peeve: when doing the accent thing, either have all the actors talking in their respective dialects or none. Who can explain why miss Knightly does her utmost to cling onto an unconvincing Russian accent, Mortenson to a more convincing German lilt, yet Fassbender portraying a Swiss gent, gets away with BBC standard English? Perplexing.
All in all, I would advise any and all to skip this one, unless that is, you have a particular fetish for watching anorexic women being spanked and pulling monkey faces. I’ll leave it at that.