Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I must admit it's good to see these sorts of domestic thrillers back in the mainstream again, since they've pretty much been relegated to the realm of TV movies and direct-to-DVD releases. We've had "Disturbia", "Lakeview Terrace" (which I keep meaning to see) and more recently "Orphan". This time around it's "Obsessed", which made a crapload of money at the box office in America, but curiously bypassed theatres here in Australia. It stars Idris Elba as an ad exec with a beautiful wife (Beyonce Knowles), a young child and a big new house. But when temp Lisa (Ali Larter) shows up at work, trouble starts brewing. It's clear she's got a thing for him, but he's clearly not got a thing for her. This doesn't stop her from mauling him in the bathroom at the Christmas party, or letting herself into his car and flashing him a glimpse of her in bra and panties. He keeps on rebuffing her, which only seems to make her more and more determined.

I love TV movies, so I've already seen this plot at least 1600 times. But I'm still not bored of it yet, and I appreciated the fact that "Obsessed" didn't pretend to be anything it wasn't. I turned my brain off, went with the flow, and wasn't insulted with any ridiculous last-minute plot twists, as is so apt to happen in thrillers these days. I expected certain things from this movie, and I got them. Sometimes a generic product can be a liability, but in this case I think there's something to be said for a movie that delivers pretty much what you're wanting from it. Crazy hot woman? Check. Douche bag main character unable to make a smart decision? Check. Domesticated stay-at-home wife who suddenly turns into Chuck Norris in big climax? Check! I was a little disappointed we didn't get the best-friend/colleague-who-figures-out-what-psycho-is-up-to-and-cops-it-good subplot (who can forget Julianne Moore getting sliced to ribbons by the rigged greenhouse in "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle"?), but was able to let it slide.

The acting is on-the-ball. In particular, Idris Elba makes for a likeable lead, even if his character is a bit of a dolt. Beyonce Knowles lacks the acting chops of her co-stars, but she's not nearly as bad as people make her out to be, and she's certainly no worse than any of the actresses who take on similar roles in similar TV movies. Ali Larter is a stand-out - she's an absolute stunner and seems to be having a really good time with the role. In fact, I wanted to know more about the character. What made her this way? What's her motive? In the script, she's just a nutjob, end of story.

You won't be surprised by anything in this movie. You'll nitpick at all the plot holes. You'll marvel at the ridiculous, over-the-top catfight that caps things off. But secretly you'll love it. I certainly did. Every predictable, manipulative minute of it.

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