Movies that open and close doors

I’ve been watching a lot of television and movies over the past few weeks, mostly as a thought avoidance tactic. But no matter how hard I try there are always some signifying items that cross my view and threaten to expand into lifelong, or at least week-long, thought obsessions. Two recent movies illustrate this contrasting reaction.

The first is In the Loop, a biting satire of the politics that led to the Iraq war a scant ten years ago. The movie follows the arc of a bumbling British MP who is minister for international development. During a radio appearance he makes the unfortunate remark that “war is unforeseeable”, which conflicts with the party line that war may indeed be all-too-foreseeable with the right intelligence. From there things just get worse, more interviews follow, behind-the-scenes politicking unfolds. The best part may be the brilliantly profane tirades of the Prime Minister’s enforcer and chief of communications.

The second is A Dangerous Method, a biopic about the triangular relationship between Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Sabina Spielrein. Spielrein comes to Jung at the start of the movie, in the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century, for treatment. Jung uses the novel methods of Freud, the “talking cure”, to treat Spielrein and, at the same time, starts corresponding with and eventually meeting Freud. Jung has an affair with Spielring, she becomes a psychotherapist, Jung and Freud have a falling out and history moves on. I was intrigued enough by the movie to look up the 600-page book it was based on. If I had more time I might consider reading the book but prospects are dim.