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A Dangerous Method: Cronenberg explores the history of sex

Michael Fassbender (left) and Viggo Mortensen in a scene from "A Dangerous Method"

3 out of 4 stars


Directed by David Cronenberg (France/Ireland/U.K./Germany/Canada)

Two outings after A History of Violence, David Cronenberg explores the history of sex, at least as filtered through the psychoanalytic minds of Messrs. Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender). Set in Europe at the dawn of the 20th century, the story tracks the meeting of those two minds, then their fractious parting. En route, the dialectic pits the rigorous science, and surprisingly dry wit, of Freud against the earnest mysticism of Jung, who struggles to balance a primal relationship with a troubled patient (an overwrought Keira Knightley) and the banal conventions of marriage to his rich wife. The performances are generally solid and the dance of ideas engaging, but the result feels a bit slight by Cronenbergian standards, or perhaps it's just playful. Either way, you'll exit the theatre reminded anew that a cigar, the one you can't smoke anywhere any more, is never just a cigar.

Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m., Roy Thomson; Sept. 12, 4:45 p.m., Lightbox 1

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Film critic

Rick Groen is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More

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