Michael Fassbender's reputation as a powerhouse actor has grown stronger, in the wake of his acclaimed turn as a young Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in X-Men: First Class. His performance in director David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method looks to only further cement Fassbender's status as a force to be reckoned with onscreen.
An international trailer has been unveiled for A Dangerous Method, which is currently in post-production and has yet to secure an official U.S. release date - but is nonetheless expected to reach theaters by the second half of 2011.
A Dangerous Method was scripted by Oscar-winner Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons, Atonement), working from his original play - which is itself based on the novel by John Kerr. It in part covers the birth of modern psychoanalysis, as devised by two pioneers (and colleagues) in the field: Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (Fassbender).
However, the drama in Cronenberg's adaptation revolves around a gorgeous patient by the name of Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman with whom Dr. Jung eventually begins an affair - an act that puts him at odds with both his peers and Dr. Freud, who also becomes infatuated with Sabina in his own less-than-healthy manner.
Needless to say, A Dangerous Method is a psychological and often erotically-charged period drama - which the international trailer very much reflects. Bear that in mind before you watch the theatrical preview (which is borderline NSFW) below:
Mortensen and Cronenberg have brought out the best in one another in their previous collaborations (see: A History of Violence, Eastern Promises) and A Dangerous Method looks like it will be no exception. The Lord of the Rings star appears to be in top form as the subtly intimidating Freud, with his quiet but firm manner - not to mention, seemingly never without a (phallic) cigar in his mouth. That also goes for Black Swan's Vincent Cassel as Otto Gross, a disciple of Freud whose professional persona is in direct contrast to his (put politely) less-scrupulous personal habits.
However, it's Fassbender who really looks like the film's star in this trailer, portraying Dr. Jung as a man who both gives in and is repelled by his own darker, deviant desires. Knightley looks to do well enough as the femme fatale that inspires Fassbender's character to take a walk on the wild side (so to speak), but she doesn't seem to have nearly as meaty a role to work with as her male co-stars.
Cronenberg is no stranger to tales about the bizarre side of human desire (see: Crash), but A Dangerous Method may end up being one of his more accessible films. Between engaging performances from both Mortensen and Fassbender, the intriguing subject matter, and the film's excellent-looking production design, this could definitely be an awards contender - assuming it arrives in U.S. theaters before the end of 2011.
We'll let you know when A Dangerous Method has secured an official release date here in the States.