Nov 21, 2011

A Dangerous Method



If any film has ever played out onscreen almost exactly as I imagined it would before viewing it, it is David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method; a cinematic portrayal of the bizarre psychoanalytic love triangle between Aryan Christ Carl Gustav Jung (played by Michael Fassbender), the Rebbe of psychoanalysis; Sigmund Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen), and the young and thoroughly neurotic Jewess Sabina Spielrein (played by Keira Knightly). As someone who has read numerous books by Jung and his break with pseudo-father-figure Freud, I was quite surprised by the realistic (and often politically incorrect) portrayal of the inevitablly doomed relationship between the two alpha-psychoanalysts. Like A Dangerous Method director David Cronenberg himself, Freud was a Jewish atheist who had a keen knack for sexualizing the most trivial of everday situations and circumstances. Also like Cronenberg (and unlike their fellow perverted but more sexually ambitious Judaic kinsman Wilhelm Reich), Freud also tended to link man’s greatest fears with the sexual. As fairly accurately portrayed in A Dangerous Method, C.G. Jung was annoyed by Freud’s stern interest in incest and dogmatic anal fixations, thus the two eventually parted ways in a most irreparable way.  Freud's jealously over Jung's affair with his Jewish patient Sabina Spielrein would also prove to be detrimental to their already disintegrating relationship. 




From the very beginning of A Dangerous Method, it is most apparent that Sigmund Freud is quite conscious of his Jewish identity and the alien Aryan society he lives in. One of the real-life Freud’s heroes was Hannibal because like Carthaginian military commander, he saw himself as Semite who sought to destroy Occidental Civilization. Of course, Freud, being nothing more than a glamorized, penis-obsessed pencil pusher, attempted to battle Western Civilization by corrupting its morals through his less than kosher theories, especially in regard to sexuality. In A Dangerous Method, Freud’s sheer resentment towards the Teuton man is more than obvious and even Jung is not excluded from his hatred. Due to the fact that the psychoanalytic movement was disproportionately Hebraic, Freud championed Jung as the chairman of the International Psychoanalytic Association so as to give the organization a more “Aryan Face.” Cronenberg makes light of this fact (albeit, somewhat subtlety) in A Dangerous Method; no doubt a bold and totally anti-Hollywood gesture on his part. Of course, Freud’s racial chauvinism becomes most glaring when he realizes that his goy boy protégé starts an affair with the kind of stunning Jewess that he could have only dreamed of as a young mensch in the ghetto. Freud sees fit to (in a dishonest fatherly manner) tell Spielrein that she should “never trust an Aryan” and that her affair with Jung is nothing more than the delusional pseudo-love of a Jewess fawning over a mystical Aryan “Siegfried.” 



It is undoubtedly an understatement for me to say that I was a bit weary of the thought of seeing stoic Dane Viggo Mortensen portraying a totally emasculated and hopelessly neurotic early 20th century Jewish intellectual yet he managed to pull it off the seemingly impossible in A Dangerous Method. Indeed, Mortensen looks like Freud on 'Roids yet he is versatile enough as an actor to mimic the stewing bitterness and growing quasi-schizoid paranoia of the Viennese psychoanalyst in an exceptionally believable way. It also does not hurt that Mortensen sports Freud’s stereotypical beard. Naturally, just like all of his performances, Michael Fassbender does a notable job portraying young C.G. Jung; a man who has yet to grow as a great thinker in his own right. Only after his break with Freud and his deep immersion in Gnosticism did Jung develop into the highly revered thinker he is today. Fassbender portrays young Jung as a man torn between his allegiance to a somewhat hostile father figure and asserting his own budding original theories. Although his role as proto-hippie psychoanalyst Otto Grass is small, Vincent Cassell performance is also quite notable.  Even as a Frenchman, Cassell brings the charming swarthy libertine routine to a new extreme in A Dangerous Method. To my surprise, Keira Knightly had me believing that she was as a neurotic Russian Jewess whose behavior ranges from the severely repellant and dangerously childish to sexually fetishistic and highly professional. That being said, not only is A Dangerous Method a cinematic introductory course in psychoanalytic history but also a work of romantic neo-Victorian decadence. 




I have noticed that a lot of diehard David Cronenberg fans are somewhat disappointed by the Canadian filmmaker's more recent non-body-horror works. On the contrary, I found A Dangerous Method to be more subversive and ambitious than much of Cronenberg’s earlier works as the film is merely more intricately packaged with a sleeker and subtler design. Sure, a small scene of sadomasochistic sex between Fassbender and Knightly may be the most visually offensive aspect of A Dangerous Method but the film tells an imperative story – the battle of two cultures and two peoples – a dichotomy about the history of psychoanalysis that even the most dedicated of psyche nerds have yet to understand. Over two decades after her fling with Freud and Jung, Sabina Spielrein was exterminated by SS Death Squad, Einsatzgruppe D in 1942. Although Freud laughed at Jung’s insistence on the importance of myths, his young student would predict – through “dubious ancient Aryan myths” – the outcome of the National Socialist revolutionary via his infamous essay Wotan; a work that describes the Teutonic archetype and what role it would play in the awakening of the German "collective unconscious" (a term coined by Jung) and the war and destruction it would bring to Europe (and its enemies) as a result. Of course, Freud managed to escape from the Gestapo and his anti-Aryan theories live on today in the hearts of Cultural Marxist college professors and Hollywood screenwriters. Seeing as it is virtually impossible nowadays to watch a children’s show without hearing some sort of Freudian sexual quip, it is quite obvious who of the two adversarial psychoanalytic heavyweights had the most dangerous method. 


-Ty E

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good review. Not the kind of thing one would read in the Guardian. Has the reviewer read Thomas Szasz's books, "Karl Kraus and the Soul Doctors" and "The Myth of Psychoanalysis" ? If not, you would enjoy them.

Soiled Sinema said...

Thanks!

No, I have not read Szasz's work but thanks for the heads up! I will certainly checkout his book on Kraus as it looks excellent. I have been interested in Kraus for sometime now (after reading "Wittgenstein's Vienna") but have yet to read much of his actual work. I love the work of Weininger and Wittgenstein though. Like Jung, Wittgenstein had some hilarious things to say about Freud.

-Ty E

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Keira Knightley (as the bird was in 2003 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously) even if the bird is British garbage.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Theres no question that Freud would`ve approved of my obsession with Heather O`Rourke because he knew what a hideously sexually repressed world we were all living in.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Once again a reveiw of quite incredible intellectual grandiose magnificence. Cronenberg has created yet another cult-classic par-excellence.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, get the Szasz — you'll enjoy it. The Karl Kraus one was republished in paperback as "Anti Freud".
The Myth Of Psychoanalysis is very good too — it has chapters on both Freud and Jung, and Szasz — a Jew — isn't shy at all about explaining to what extent Freud's Zionism and gentile-hating was a core factor of his "science" of the mind. Szasz is a great libertarian.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

If Freud were alive today i bet he`d spend all day jerking off to "THE PAULINE HICKEY FAN PAGE", is it any wonder, when that bird was 17 in 1985 she was arguably the greatest masturbation-aid of all-time.

Scott Is NOT A Professional said...

Jervaise, what is it with your fucking juvenile sexual obsessions that you insist on pasting all over internet comment threads, regardless of how appropriate they may be to the discussion at hand?

I don't even care that your tireless proselytizing on behalf of Pauline Hickey has forced me to begrudgingly admit to a burgeoning taste for that particular "bird"...

On topic:

I read a Keira Knightley interview which talked about her supposed ambivalence in performing the required scene of sexual sadomasochism with Mr. Fassbinder.

It aroused both sides of me: the David Cronenberg fan AND the formerly dedicated sexual defiler of masochistic young Jewesses.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Scott, my old mate, its great to hear that you`re finally realising what an ass-tonishing bird Pauline Hickey really was (in 1985 when the bird was 17 of course, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I`m actually starting to think that films like "A Dangerous Method" are made specifically for "Soiled Sinema" to reveiw, thats just how great this site is (when its not wasting its time with British and pansy queer bull-shit of course).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

According to Box-Office Mojo it looks as though "Arthur Christmas" has failed (or at least badly faltered, relatively speaking) already in its opening day at the North American box-office, YIPPEE, death to the British film industry and all the unwatchable celluloid dog-shit that it produces. Could it be that the American movie going public are finally seeing the light with regards to what a ludicrous pathetic joke the so-called British film industry really is ? ! ? !, it`ll be so great if they are because that will finally ensure that no more British made horse-shit will ever besmirch, pollute, or clutter-up American multi-plexes ever again, HOO-RAH ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, mAQ, you know that film called "Girl-os - Hands of Fate" (1966) (you must have heard of it, its taken over from "Plan 9 From Outer Space" in recent years as being regarded as the worst film of all-time), i just watched it on Youtube and although it was indeed absolutely appalling it was still infinitely better than anything the British film industry has ever produced, once again another classic example and comparison to show what a laughable pathetic abomination and train-wreck the so-called British film industry really is. By the way, the best thing about the film was the little girl, that little darlin` was quite stunning as you`ll see when you watch it.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

You know that scene in Poltergeist 3 where Heather is being dragged down into that pool of water in the underground car park, well the geezer who was playing the arms of the demon that was dragging her under was a bloody lucky bastard because he got to "legally" grope Heather, i wonder if he was lucky enough to touch her bum and twat under the water ?, if he did he was one of the luckiest sods who ever lived ! ! !.

Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

I wrote something about Cronenberg's eXistenZ recently.

http://ostrovletania.blogspot.com/2011/11/neo-fascist-consideration-of-jewish.html

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I just visited Andrea Ostrov Letania's blog, she must be the cleverest person in the world (even cleverer than Chomsky ! ! !), visit the site yourselves and you`ll see what i`m talking about.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Andrea Ostrov Letania.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

"Arthur Christmas" is dead in the water at the North American box office, bloody marvellous, i just hope that people dont allow themselves to be conned into seeing it simply because December = Christmas, hopefully its laughable opening week-end will ensure that it does just as badly over the next few weeks as well.

Anonymous said...

What what would be the only thing more unlikely than Richard Dawkins converting to Islam ?...thats right...you guessed it...Soiled Sinema reveiwing Now Voyager ! ! !. Oh Jerry, lets not ask for the moon...we have a giant pile of faecal material.