David Cronenberg’s latest features none of the themes or concerns so stunningly prevalent in his earliest features; it is a period piece about a moment in “intellectual history.” Foucault derides such a universalist approach, but in a way, it is highly satisfying and uniquely fascinating: that an idea, or set of ideas, and their origination and development, should form the backbone or source of interest in a tale that hinges, perhaps, on a romantic relationship. I was immediately reminded of Social Network: two dramatic (i.e. not boring) films about the ways in which singularly genius yet odd men with poor social skills managed to change the way the world thinks – and the humans that are betrayed, damaged, or destroyed on the way. And yet neither film necessarily sweats on the effort to portray these supposedly “bit players” or even necessary catalysts as worthy of further record: the fascination remains with the man who, unattractive though he is, manages to implant something in our minds that seems particularly OF him. In reality, they are men in the right places at the right time – and of the right background. Surprisingly, it is the Protestant in A Dangerous Method who falls prey to superstition and his own crippling guilt; what was Cronenberg trying to say? Was he merely attempting to capture a pivotal moment in our understanding of the human mind? Probably not – it was such a fun battle of egos and symbols and sexual predilections. It’s all about men, really. And perhaps Cronenberg’s love of a special man: Freud. Who seems to right about everything. In the end, perhaps the film does indeed relate to his earlier ouvre.

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