Riding across Manhattan in a stretch limo in order to get a haircut, a 28-year-old billionaire asset manager's day devolves into an odyssey with a cast of characters that start to tear his world apart.
After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.
After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally murders his wife and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.
Suffering from hysteria, Sabina Spielrein is hospitalized under the care of Dr. Carl Jung who has begun using Dr. Sigmund Freud's talking cure with some of his patients. Spielrain's psychological problems are deeply rooted in her childhood and violent father. She is highly intelligent however and hopes to be a doctor, eventually becoming a psychiatrist in her own right. The married Jung and Spielrein eventually become lovers. Jung and Freud develop an almost father-son relationship with Freud seeing the young Jung as his likely successor as the standard-bearer of his beliefs. A deep rift develops between them when Jung diverges from Freud's belief that while psychoanalysis can reveal the cause of psychological problems it cannot cure the patient. Written by
Keira Knightley joked on The Graham Norton Show that her first meeting with David Cronenberg was a Skype session where she had to demonstrate her character's "weird sex faces" (which she had been practicing in the mirror beforehand). Skype apparently froze while she was pulling one of said faces. See more »
Both Jung (Fassbender) and Freud(Mortensen) speak in refined English accents throughout. It is however very clear that English stands in for German, thus each character is assumed to be speaking highly educated German. Jung notes that Spielrein (Knightley) speaks fluent German, albeit with an accent; and indeed Knightley speaks with a Russian accent in the role. Other characters, however, are often found to speak with German accents for some reason, which should be utterly unnecessary if English serves as the stand-in for German. See more »
Experiences like this, however painful, are necessary and inevitable; without them, how can we know life?
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Excerpts from Siegfried
by Richard Wagner, original publication by Schott Music GmbH & Co KG, Mainz, Germany, 1876.
Adapted by Howard Shore, published by South Fifth Avenue Publishing, 2010. See more »
I must admit, going into this film, I was rather excited; I've enjoyed both of David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen's previous collaborations and my interest in both Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis and Michael Fassbender practically guaranteed that I would be seeing this film. I fear now, however, that my expectations may have been a bit too high.
I must admit, however, that I thought that Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen played their roles very well, although Mortensen definitely didn't receive as much screen time as he deserved. Vincent Cassel definitely shone in his extended cameo as Otto Gross. I did have some issues with Keira Knightly's acting, however. I feel like she may have over exaggerated her actions, particularly in the beginning scenes where she is in the midst of hysteria.
However, my real problem with this film is that, for lack of a better term, it all seems a little too shallow. Events that should be important are skimmed over and not explained; to be honest, it doesn't particularly seem like anything of real importance happens in the film. The characters have little depth; despite the fact that they are all playing rather well known persons, there simply isn't anything to them other than a name. On top of this, despite what the taglines of the film and trailer seem to suggest, the relationship between Freud and Jung is hardly explored. For the most part, their scenes involve reading letters from the other. This is hardly compelling viewing.
Overall, I feel like this film would have been better if it had been longer. If the film had a running time of even two hours, compared to one and a half, more character development could have been inserted, particularly for Freud. In addition, more focus on Jung's relationship with Freud, rather than his relationship with Spielrein, would have been nice to see.
Here's hoping that any future collaborations between Cronenberg and Mortensen pack a bit more of a punch.
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