Irrespective of the questionable merits of the material with the film itself, its presentation is hard to fault, coming to Region A-locked US Blu-ray complete with a stunning 1080p video transfer in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Detail is fantastic throughout, from fine object detail through to perfect observation of the longer shots, with clothing textures, lavish gardens and decadent interiors all coming across beautifully. Clarity resounds, with the sharpness on offer betraying no signs of digital tinkering: there’s no edge enhancement, no unruly DNR and no digital defects to behold. We even get some 3D pop and depth to the piece. Indeed so good is the image quality that it make the poor CG effects shots stand out as even more shoddy. The colour scheme is broad and vividly rendered, with vibrant greenery, rich mahogany browns, and deep, solid blacks which allow for excellent shadowing, without any sign of black crush. There’s a fine layer of suitably filmic grain pervading the piece and overall this is easily demo-quality, picture-perfect viewing; a stunning reference rendition for this movie.
On the aural front we get a superb DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is almost as good as the video presentation, and which certainly does justice to the material on offer. Understandably this isn’t a boisterous, bombastic piece, and yet the acutely-observed sound design of the track affords us a surprisingly immersive experience, bolstered by an engaging score and some decent atmospherics. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, from Knightley’s pronounced stammer through to shouts and screams and reflective musings, and letter narration; it all dominates the centre channel, breaking out into the rest of the frontal array for support. The minutiae of background effects are picked up with this mix, giving the surrounds and almost-constant feed of material to deliver, from horse-drawn carriages to antiquated psychological test machines; from early cruise liners to just the simply wind blowing through the trees. Bass is understandably restrained, but this still makes for a surprisingly immersive and undeniably effective aural accompaniment.
A Dangerous Method comes to US Blu-ray with just a few extras, but they are worthy ones which tick all the right boxes – driven by a director’s commentary and an informative roundtable interview.
Audio Commentary with director David Cronenberg who offers up a contemplative, informative accompanying track that provides a wealth of background trivia into the real history of this trio of psychologists, whilst also noting the details of the production itself, from locations to cinematography; from casting to performances. Fans will definitely want to give this a listen.
The Making of A Dangerous Method runs at just shy of 8 minutes in length and, whilst it’s not overly in-depth, still manages to cover all the bases – from the original story, the stage play and the script through to the historical characters, the cast and the performances, with further nods towards the locations chosen, costume and set design, and the scoring. Interview snippets with the cast and crew pepper the piece which is a nice little overview summary to accompany the movie.
AFI’s Harold Lloyd Master Seminar with David Cronenberg is a fantastic little interview piece Recorded late 2011 which runs at a healthy half hour in length and has James Hosney, AFI’s resident scholar, interviewing Cronenberg and discussing the historical characters, the original screenplay, the award-winning stage adaptation, the casting, the performances and how he interacts with his actors, the sets and period setting, whilst also noting some general observations about his taste in films and the path of his directing choices.
The disc is rounded off by the movie’s original theatrical trailer as well as a number of Preview Trailers.
Acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg, directing a drama about two of the most famous historical figures in the world of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis – Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung – with Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender playing the lead roles? It’s easy to see how many would be drawn to this piece.
Unfortunately, whilst A Dangerous Method may have all the right ingredients, they come together to form a ponderous, meandering, disjointed mess, which – whilst it boasts at least one standout performance from Ms. Keira Knightley – still wallows for the duration in its own mire of inexorable, and inexcusable, pretentiousness.
Fans will undoubtedly be pleased by the US Region A-locked release, however, which boasts demo quality video and audio, as well as a small but well-chosen selection of worthy extras. However, if you’re not already a fan of the movie, then I strongly recommend you consider a rental first – don’t be drawn in by the fantastic cast and by associations with the director’s name; this one should only really be of interest to those who want to see a fantastic performance by Knightley, all others should be wary of what they are buying into.
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