A Dangerous Method: David Cronenberg's Cinema of the Anus

A Dangerous Method: David Cronenberg's Cinema of the Anus

A DANGEROUS METHOD Keira Knightley learns the dark truth about her anus.

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Finally, a movie that gives me the opportunity to make a meaty attack on cinema's undying dependence on Sigmund Freud. But before I get my teeth into that matter, some words on this film's story and artistic worth. Set at the opening of the 20th century (the twilight of European global dominance), the film is about a relationship between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). The latter, a beautiful Russian Jew, is a mental patient of the former, a Swiss psychiatrist. After the former cures the latter of her madness, he becomes her lover. She likes it rough; he is married but can't resist exploring the limits of desire. In the middle of all of this scandal and spanking appears, of course, the most famous psychiatrist who ever lived, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). The Viennese quack (as Vladimir Nabokov was fond of calling him) smokes long penises and thinks everything comes down to the anus. The movie ends on a sad note. A Dangerous Method's artistic value is very respectable—the costumes are faultless, the pacing impeccable, and the performances solid (particularly Fassbender's). Indeed, it's hard to imagine David Cronenberg making a film that is not worth seeing.

That said, let's return to Freud. Lazy directors and actors love the Viennese quack because his analysis of human behavior offers the visual side of the art an easy way to externalize subjective states. And exactly why are Freud's ideas bad for this purpose? Because, as even the Jung in A Dangerous Method points out repeatedly, they are very limited, predictable, impoverished—everything comes down to sex, and sex comes down to the anus. So whenever a director employs Freud to communicate the inner worlds of his/her characters, we are always left with an anus: Why is he looking at that? It has something to do with his anus. Why does she scream like that? It has something to do with her anus. Why does the boy long for his mummy? It has something to do with his anus. Why is the girl so upset about her daddy? It must have something to do with her anus. The cinema of the new century must break with this old and dusty black hole. recommended


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wow, someone has obviously not read much Freud.
Posted by Fancy Clara on December 21, 2011 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Charles nails it again! Freud is crap.
Posted by I mean it. Crap. on December 21, 2011 at 6:35 PM · Report this
Gee, I wonder who posted this anonymous comment? tsk tsk, Charles, and gosh, what would Freud say? (hint: it doesn't have to do with your anus)
Posted by Fancy Clara on December 21, 2011 at 10:13 PM · Report this
Fancy Clara's right, Charles. Freud's all about the cock. Unless this was a coy way of saying "Freud is crap" (to which I totally agree), you're slightly off-base here.
Posted by sahara29 on December 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Agree with the above comments. Freud *is* obviously crap, and just as obviously you know next to nothing about his work. I've shredded the guy a time or two myself, but if you're going to make your review about Freud rather than about the movie, at least have the decency to get familiar with your subject.
Posted by Delafina on December 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
Nothing wrong with some anus. In fact I was disappointed to find out this movie wasn't about Kiera Knightley exploring the limits of her anus. And now, back to porn.
Posted by Mmmmm... anus. on December 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM · Report this
biju 7
Finally, a heading with the word "anus"
Posted by biju on December 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
David Cronenberg IS an anus.
Posted by auntie grizelda on December 26, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Cronenberg, or Mudede, who is it with the 'anus envy'?
Posted by Rawkcuf on December 26, 2011 at 10:21 PM · Report this
markvz 10
Anus envy has yet to be defined on Urban Dictionary.
Posted by markvz on December 27, 2011 at 5:30 PM · Report this
In the words of that famous Klingon philosopher, "Uranus is gaseous."
Posted by Brundlefly on December 27, 2011 at 5:49 PM · Report this
a bit off topic, but this makes me wonder, Charles, if in researching your documentary ZOO, or if in reading reviews of it afterwards, you encountered Freudian analyses of the anal sex there; and also wonder what was Jung's analytical use of the anus, if any, as archetype or animus
Posted by billstamets on January 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM · Report this
Right! I totally forgot about ZOO, when considering your tenuous relationship to equines. Again, I like this review, but you really give a lot of the movie away. Don't you think you should leave something up to the imagination?
Posted by PennyChrome on January 5, 2012 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Shamefully lazy review. Though, I guess we all phone in our work every once in while. At least it was short.
Posted by zzzzzzzzzz on January 24, 2012 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Wow, did you even see this movie?? It was amazing and had pretty much zero to do with anuses. Either this was the most lazy, incompetent review ever or you watched the first ten minutes and then spent the rest of the time texting in the theater like an asshole so you could get paid to write this garbage.
Posted by Tick on January 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM · Report this

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