A Dangerous Method


David Cronenberg’s new film A Dangerous Method,  premiered  at the Venice Film Festival last Friday. It tells the story of the relationship between a troubled Russian woman who suffers from violent fits, and Carl Jung, the married Swiss psychiatrist, who agrees to treat her.

Keira Knightley plays the 18 year-old Sabina Spielrein, who is admitted to hospital in the grip of hysteria. Using his new “talking cure”,  Jung discovers that the fits are triggered by memories of childhood beatings administered by her father that left her sexually aroused.

Jung eventually admits to his repressed lust for Sabina and they embark on an affair in which he indulges her fetish for spanking.

The trailer shows Michael Fassbender as Jung beating Knightley on the bottom, probably with a cane, while she is kneeling on a bed with her petticoats raised. A passing remark in a review on Indiewire.com, however, reveals that there is more than one spanking scene in the movie:

…some might be surprised at how restrained the film is, bar a couple of spanking scenes and a sticky close-up of virginal blood.

In the trailer, there is also an outdoor scene in which Fassbender uses a walking stick to beat his coat.  His actions cause Knightley to become wildy aroused  – does he  go on to cane her al fresco?

Let’s take a look at some more of the press reaction to A Dangerous Method which has  already become  the most talked about movie with  spanking  in it since Secretary in 2003.

Time Out

The film: It’s undeniable that this is a conservative experience, visually, and suffers from the stuffiness of historical reconstruction, especially when so much of the drama is interior.

The spanking: Vincent Cassel’s brief appearances as the wild psychiatrist Otto Gross and the devil on Jung’s back, pushing him towards following his instincts – and striking up a sado-masochistic love affair with Spielrein, cue spanking! – loosen things up a little too.

The Guardian

The film:  The script is intelligent, the tone is tasteful, and Keira Knightley provides the Oscar bait with a fleeting display of stage-managed pyrotechnics. All that’s missing, in fact, is a crucial whiff of danger.

The spanking: Sabina bares her teeth and juts an extraordinary, elongated chin that should by rights have been shot in 3D. She is, she claims, “vile and filthy and corrupt” and her greatest desire is to be tied up and spanked. Jung, with a pained, frowning diligence, duly obliges.

But spanking, as any good psychiatrist should know, has consequences. In this particular case, it winds up exciting Sabina to a worrying degree, making Jung more miserable than he was before and comprehensively torpedoing the friendship with Freud, who initially defends his protege and then feels a fool for doing so. What the spanking can’t do, unfortunately, is knock some life into this heartfelt, well-acted but curiously underwhelming slab of Masterpiece Theatre.

The Telegraph

The film: The main performances are fine, with Fassbender conveying seething emotion beneath a calm veneer. But it’s Knightley that one remembers, for a full-on portrayal that is gutsy and potentially divisive in equal parts.

The spanking: The review doesn’t say much but they have attached a supporting piece on Top 5 Spanks in the Movies. The writer makes the classic mistake of confusing The Quiet Man with McLintock! Also included is the 2009 film Fish Tank in which Michael Fassbender (again) spanks Katie Jarvis.

A Dangerous Method is out in the U.S. on November 23rd but for some reason doesn’t appear in the U.K till February 10th 2012! And don’t forget that Keira Knightley is a former Brit Bot of the Week with a 67% approval rating for what is now,  officially,  a spanked-in-movies Brit bot!

11 thoughts on “A Dangerous Method”

  1. Quite amazing that a newspaper like the Telegraph posts a ‘top spanking scenes’ list, with the lovely subheading “Keira Knightley isn’t the only star to have her derrière tanned in the name of cinema.” even if said list is pretty poor. I mean, 9 1/2 Weeks didn’t actually have a spanking scene (as far as I know?) and Spencer’s Mountain is nothing special.

    Would’ve though the likes of Blue Hawaii, Kiss Me Kate and McLintock would be the first names down for famous scenes – along with Secretary, naturally.

    Looking forward to ‘A Dangerous Method’ and if there is more than one spanking scene, all the better! I think a lot of people will enjoy seeing Keira Knightley getting spanked – she seems to divide opinion between people who fancy her & people who hate her, so both groups should be satisfied!

  2. A couple more quotes:

    Movieline: “There’s some kinky sex in A Dangerous Method, particularly a discreet spanking episode, but Cronenberg makes it neither exploitive nor so tasteful that it loses its charge. He’s hip to the allure of the forbidden, but he doesn’t get carried away by it.”

    ‘discreet’ makes it sound like it could be a bit of a cut-away disappointment of a scene..

    But Variety provides another piece of evidence that there’s more than one spanking scene:

    “An illicit affair begins, dramatized with period-appropriate discretion plus a few intense bouts of spanking. Surprisingly, this aspect of the picture generates little in the way of scandalous heat, largely because Jung seems more invested in the scientific implications of the relationship than in the emotional or ethical ones.”

  3. Indeed! Looking forward to seeing this film now! I shall take “er Indoors” along as she is into period dramas so won’t suspect my real reason for finding an excuse to go visit the cinema…

    & I am firmly in the camp of LOVE seeing Keira Knightley… especially if she is spanked! *sigh*

  4. Chross: Look forward to seeing the clips on your site before long!

    MarQe: there’s always space on The Spank Statement blogroll for quality spanking blogs 🙂

    Luther: thanks for adding to the collection of quotes from the critics. It sounds like there’s definitely more than one scene which can only be good news. Yes that Top 5 in the Telegraph is very odd. (I quite liked his write up on Fish Tank though which I think is a much underrated scene.) And yes most surprising to see it in the Telegraph although the use of the Uma Thurman picture is an all too predictable politically correct cop out.

    Chief: I’m definitely in the pro Knightley camp too. I would prefer to see her taken otk though.

    Hope “Er Indoors” enjoys her night out! 🙂

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