The Films of David Cronenberg
Crimes of the Future
The Dead Zone
A History of Violence
Click here for review.
A Dangerous Method (February 12/12)
Disastrously dull from beginning to end, A Dangerous Method details the friendship that ensues between Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) in the early 20th century - with their subsequent conversations revolving around both Jung's ongoing efforts at treating a problematic patient (Keira Knightley's Sabina Spielrein) and his increasingly shaky personal life. It's worth noting that A Dangerous Mind gets off to a decidedly promising start, as filmmaker David Cronenberg does a nice job of initially luring the viewer into the proceedings - with the flawless visuals and strong performances playing an instrumental role in establishing a (relatively) engrossing vibe of stately drama. There quickly (and, perhaps, inevitably) reaches a point at which the relentlessly talky nature of Christopher Hampton's screenplay becomes an insurmountable obstacle, however, and it's clear that the progressively stagnant atmosphere - ie one can't help but wish that something of consequence would occur - ensures that the movie slowly-but-surely transforms into nothing more than an admittedly handsome actor's showcase. And while it's certainly not difficult to envision aficionados or students of the mental health field embracing the slight narrative, A Dangerous Mind suffers from a distinct paucity of elements designed to sustain and capture the interest of casual viewers - which, despite fine work from the three stars, cements the movie's place as a cold, hopelessly uninteresting endeavor that marks an obvious low point within Cronenberg's uneven filmography.
Based on Don DeLillo's almost remarkably awful book, Cosmopolis follows 28-year-old billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he hops into a stretch limousine and embarks on a journey to get a haircut - with the character's trek interrupted by a wide variety of oddball characters and outlandish happenings. It's clear immediately that filmmaker David Cronenberg, working from his own screenplay, has elected to remain completely faithful to the source material, as Cosmopolis, much like DeLillo's interminable novel, is rife with long, tedious conversations revolving around a whole host of decidedly uncinematic topics (including capitalism, currencies, and arcane philosophical theories). There's consequently little doubt that one's ongoing efforts at embracing the material fall hopelessly (and consistently) flat, with the palpably dreary atmosphere compounded by a uniform selection of underdeveloped, one-dimensional characters. (It doesn't help, either, that each and every one of these figures has been saddled with dialogue that couldn't possibly sound more artificial and stagy; eg "time is a thing that grows scarcer every day; what, you don't know this?") It's a shame, really, given that Cronenberg has assembled an admittedly impressive cast, with Pattinson's strong work matched by an eclectic roster of supporting performers that includes, among others, Kevin Durand, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel, and Paul Giamatti. And although the narrative has been peppered with a very, very small handful of striking moments (eg a violent riot occurs just outside Eric's limo), Cosmopolis is, for the most part and without mincing words, an astonishingly boring drama that marks the latest misfire for a once rock-solid filmmaker - with the movie's seemingly endless climax only cementing its place as a fairly reprehensible piece of work.