The birth of psychoanalysis, the friendship and schism between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, the influence of a beautiful, masochistic female patient on both men—David Cronenberg must have been jumping up and down when he found such juicy material for his new film. Helmer of such mind-bending thrillers as “Videodrome,” “Naked Lunch” and “The Fly,” the Canadian provocateur is known for his aggressive examinations of sex, violence and madness.
(UK/USA) Directed by Mark Romanek. Starring Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley. Category IIB.
Category IIA. Plot-wise, you could argue “The Duchess” is a bit lost. It markets itself on the premise that “The Duchess” of Devonshire, Georgiana Spencer, led a life parallel to that of her celebrity descendant, the late Princess Di. And sure, there are some similarities. Both women were adored by the public, both had unhappy marriages to rich, cold bastards, and both marriages were unraveled by illicit affairs. But isn’t that pretty much the story of every British drama that takes its cue from Jane Austen?
Category IIB. “Silk” is an empty movie. Director François Girard has made a movie filled with stunningly beautiful women, breathtaking landscapes, and dramatic travel adventure, but for what purpose? There’s sex and there’s death, but the film seems to offer no explanation for either—especially as to why two women as magnificent as Keira Knightley and Sei Ashina would fall in love with a crazy monkey like Michael Pitt.
Category IIB. Fans of the novelist Ian McEwan tend to be protective of the author’s work. As much as any writer working today, McEwan’s genius can be found within the sentence. His plots build strength from their precise simplicity, and to most, his work seems ill-placed splashed on the cinema screen. Fortunately, director Joe Wright ("Pride and Prejudice"), with the help of screenwriter Christopher Hampton, has managed to remain faithful to the original work, while imbuing the film with its own nervous energy.
Finally. The sequel to the movie of the amusement park ride. The deliciously spaced Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns, and finds himself owing his soul to the tentacle-bearded under-the-sea ghoulie Davy Jones and his ship of equally tentacled minions. Now this doesn’t exactly sit too well with our favorite Captain, and so he’s off on a quest to find the eponymous chest, which contains Jones’ still-beating heart.