BFI London Film Festival: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The Hayward Gallery's display of pants

As the 55th BFI London Film Festival enters the final week it’s time to take stock of the good, the bad and David Cronenberg’s “unmentionables”. The Canadian director’s latest movie, A Dangerous Method, is just pants. (To illustrate this point I offer you the display of underwear currently adorning London’s South Bank.)

This biographical drama about Jung, Freud and “the birth of psychoanalysis” commits the cardinal sin of being dull from start to finish. Sure, there are some painterly compositions from Cronenberg’s regular cinematographer, Peter Suschitzky, but I’m struggling to find any other positives here. I can only assume that those critics who liked A Dangerous Method have recently taken some lusty blows to the head — much like the ones delivered to Keira Knightley’s posterior in the movie.

I won’t be reviewing A Dangerous Method, because I have better things to do with my time. To make matters worse, a critic in the row behind me was noisily eating oranges during the early part of the film. Consuming pungent food in a cinema is right up there in the list of cardinal sins. Like texting and talking, it’s an activity that should earn you instant expulsion. So, Mr Orange, here’s a classic James Cagney scene to illustrate what I’d like to have done to you earlier today. (I know, it’s a grapefruit, but you get the point.)

Vincent Cassel has a small part in A Dangerous Method, but if you’re a fan you would be much better advised to check out his starring role as a libidinous monk in Dominik Moll’s The Monk. Matthew Lewis’s Gothic novel was published in 1796 and filmed in 1972 with Franco Nero. As a newcomer to the story, I can honestly say that I had no idea where the various plot strands were going until the horrific conclusion. I’ll be writing a review later this week.

If you are going to BFI London Film Festival this week, please consider your neighbours and make the banana your snack of choice.

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