It’s too easy to get caught up in the dialogue of A Dangerous Method and ignore the actions that accompany it. I did in my first viewing of director David Cronenberg’s historical speculation about the relationship between two brilliant men at the forefront of their field. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) reveal everything about themselves over the course of the film, and they do so in that convenient trick afforded them by their profession: They speak in generalities and hypotheses. Cronenberg and the cast find the right note of detachment while hinting at the tension coming to a slow boil beneath. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Angelina Jolie’s first narrative movie is set during the Bosnian War, and as a generalized account of the horrors of that conflict, In the Land of Blood and Honey works to a certain extent. The scenes of atrocities, which Jolie captures with an impassive eye, are tough and imbue the movie with a sense of helplessness. As the story itself, about a woman named Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) and her experiences with a Serbian militant named Danijel (Goran Kostic), unfolds, though, the proceedings start to veer into the realm of a comparatively melodramatic struggle, and the actual consequences of the war drift further away. Available on DVD/Blu-ray Combo.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close joins the short list of movies to deal directly with the events of September 11, 2001, and as such, any conversation about the movie must invariably touch upon how it handles the tragedy. Many found the movie to be exploitative. I did not so much, although I can certainly see their viewpoint. A young boy (Thomas Horn) recalls the death of his father (Tom Hanks) on that day while following the trail of a mysterious key he finds among his dad’s possessions. The journey and the people he meets should be vital, but the movie bypasses them for the quirks of its central, insufferable character. Max von Sydow is a bright spot as a mute man with a secret. Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.