Based on the stage play The Talking Cure which was based John Kerr's non-fiction novel, A Most Dangerous Method. David Cronenberg continues to show-off the diversity of his talents. Set at the beginning of the 20th century. Fictionally portraying the relationship between young Carl Jung as his psychiatric abilities progress, Sigmund Freud who becomes his mentor, and Sabina Spielrein, one of Jung's patients who becomes his gifted assistant, tortured lover, and muse.
Michael Fassbender's performance as Jung is commanding, stimulatingly conflicted, and yet another splendid performance by him this year. Viggo Mortensen plays Sigmund Freud, he takes this complicated and dominating nature of his personality and mind brining them to the screen like only one of the best actors working today could. The complicated and colliding relationship between Fassbender and Mortensen is like getting the rare opportunity to see/hear two of the 20th century's greatest minds test each other's abilities - incredible! Keira Knightley's performance as Ms. Spielrein is inconsistent to say the least. She plays the mentally disturbed patient to a perfection, but as the more historically accurate representation of her character comes around she falters and her acting becomes awkward and very overdone. We are treated to a nice little surprise with Vincent Cassel's performance as Otto Gross, a troubled early disciple to Freud who was a polygamist and ended up becoming an anarchist. A very interesting role played wonderfully.
The film is undoubtedly full of fascinating characters and a strong performances, but the plot will test your patience. Relying completely on the interaction between characters is always risky and sometimes the simplistic plot struggles mightily to keep a nice flow going which will lead to plenty dull moments and lost interest. But utilizing these character's revolutionary ideas/minds is handled with grace thanks to a brilliant script by Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons). David Cronenberg's direction is as subtle as you will ever see it, avoiding his usual oddity and weirdness and substituting it with nice pacing and well-constructed scenes that lets his characters shine.
A historical character piece with no abundance of well-portrayed characters ,who themselves make the film worth seeing, and strong performances, but failing to have any set-purpose other than to bring these characters and ideas to the big screen.