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Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen in “A Dangerous Method” – TIFF 2011

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: It wouldn’t be TIFF without a new film by Toronto native David Cronenberg, which is part of the reason why we are extremely excited for the acclaimed director’s latest picture “A Dangerous Method.”

The sexually charged historical drama makes its North American premiere at this year’s TIFF fest after a stop over in Venice. If it’s half as engaging as Cronenberg’s most recent TIFF entries, “Eastern Promises” and “A History of Violence,” festival audiences will buckle in for a wild ride.

Previous TIFF previews can be found by visiting our bustling Awards Alley.

For now, though, let’s learn more about Cronenberg’s “Dangerous Method,” and figure out why it’s a title to watch at TIFF 2011.

A Dangerous Method

The Plot: On paper, it sounds dreadfully dull. As European nations prepare to engage in World War I, fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and his mentor, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), lock horns over a troubled patient (Keira Knightley) in an intense study of sensuality, deceit and sexuality that changes the course of psychoanalysis forever.

The Cast: Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon

The Director: David Cronenberg

The Scoop: “Boring on paper” means nothing with Cronenberg behind the lens. The man hasn’t made a dull film … well, ever. And he has been enjoying a particularly fruitful collaboration with Mortensen, which we expect to continue here. Fassbender’s a talent on the rise. Knightley seems just kinky enough to be able to play along with Cronenberg’s games. The trailer (below) is as steamy and threatening as the film’s title promises. This one’s going to pack the TIFF Bell Lighthouse Friday afternoon. Let’s hope we need a stiff drink right after.

Awards Potential: Hard to say until we see it. While neither Cronenberg nor his films have been serious Oscar contenders as of late, he’s capable of coaching his actors to nominations. “Method” screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s an Oscar winner for his work on “Dangerous Liaisons,” and an Oscar nominee for his “Atonement” script. Knightley, Mortensen and Fassbender also have to be considered options, if the film plays to its potential.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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