Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mortensen and Fassbender together is an irresistible prospect

An acting match-up to compare with De Niro and Pacino

The release of A Dangerous Method is being talked about for many reasons. Spanking. Keira Knightley. Keira Knightley being spanked. It’s all been very high-brow, but for the real film fans amongst us there is a great reason to get excited. The film features one of those acting head-to-heads which are unmissable. Like De Niro and Pacino in Heat was for an entire generation of film buffs, so Mortensen and Fassbender in A Dangerous Method is for another.

Viggo Mortensen came to most people’s attention a decade ago when he played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and since then has delivered several terrific, challenging character performances in films like A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and Good.

Michael Fassbender’s rise has been comparatively recent. Having broken through with a small role in 300 and an extraordinary, physically-punishing role in Hunger, Fassbender has become well known for his chameleon-like transformations from one part to the next, culminating with his incredible and genuinely intense performance in Shame, which has been shockingly overlooked by the Oscars.

The two, therefore, have great reputations and have been two of the most consistently compelling actors of the last decade. Teamed up with David Cronenberg, who has had a very successful collaboration with Mortensen in his last two films, the pair are playing Freud and Jung, two of the modern age’s most exciting minds, and most competitive personalities.

However, this should not be a contest between the two actors (one gets the sense that the De Niro-Pacino face-off in Heat was), largely because they have led very separate careers until now. It should be a celebration of two of the most special talents working in film at the moment. Personally, I can’t wait.

A Dangerous Method is released on Friday 10th February

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