David Cronenberg is like platinum.
If I knew how to invest in him, I would. His value will only appreciate.
I had the good fortune to recently see A Dangerous Method and it struck how Cronenberg’s films have reflected his age – his age in filmmaking terms, that is. For 30-40 years now he has made films and, in the last ten years, films that – to me – are complex but appearing simple and therefore beautiful. Perhaps it was Spider that marked the transformation from what we knew him as in his 80s & 90s work.
Please don’t me wrong, I do still love Crash, The Fly, eXistenZ [the 1st of his flims I ever saw] and all his early ‘Baron of Blood’ stuffs however it is his maturity that has made him slowly and surely become my favourite contemporary director.
Since Spider, Cronenburg has taken Brechtian distancing in on itself so much so that – in exploring the infinite geographies of the landscapes of violence – he has come to see its natural conclusion (and ongoing usage) in individuals and in his style as something to be measured and used in measure. Each of the shots in A Dangerous Method distance us some from the tension in the room, the foreboding in people’s actions, and the great, powerful flux of the characters emotions. Unless, that is, we’re faced directly and closely with character’s faces.
The some talked about spanking is – to me – beautiful, tasteful and only worthy of mention because it too balances this distancing so well by not focusing solely on the violence but by letting us see how both characters react, where they look and how good the release is for them by keeping the shot at a middle-distance.
When Jung cries, we are so close we see the creases in his once unreadable face.
When Freud falls, we are so close we see the twitches he wishes to hide.
When Spielrein cries, we are so close we see the convulsions in her lower eyelids.
Just a side note to say: that the three leads give great performances; I’m glad to see Cronenberg’s ongoing muse-affair with Mortensen; and Sarah Gadon puts in a beautifully understated performance – with an excellent usage of voice – to give a very human take on the wife-scorned.
Thanks, all – I think I’ll watch it again when I can.