psychiatry in action
21 November 2010
Ingmar Bergman's cold, clinical case study explores the psycho-sexual inhibitions of a Swedish man unable to trust his wife but unwilling to leave her, leading him finally to murder and then rape a young prostitute. The verbally explicit drama is challenging and controversial but also impersonal and uninvolving, in large part because of Bergman's deliberately detached viewpoint and the unfortunate addition (on the old VHS print I saw, at least) of substandard English overdubbing. The implied criticism of Freudian analysis is worth noting (if only because it's more interesting than the facts in the case itself), but the film hardly qualifies as entertainment, except perhaps for highbrow viewers needing strong food for thought.
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