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.
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 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 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!