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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
MOVIE REVIEW: Obessed

 

The Rating: PG-13

The Marquee: Idris Elba, Beyonce Knowles, Ali Larter, Bruce McGill

The Synopsis: The Wire’s Idris Elba is a man who seems to have a perfect life. He has a doting wife (Beyoncé Knowles), and he has just earned a promotion at work. But destruction looms when a pretty temp (Heroes’ Ali Larter) grows a little too fond of him.

The Review:
Steve Shill's "Obsessed" takes a crazy-adulteress premise of the thriller Fatal Attraction, gives it a racial spin, and then to top things off, transforms the entire affair into a waiting game for spurned wife Beyoncé Knowles to open a can of whip ass. The center of this catfight is Derek (Idris Elba), a VP at an asset management firm whose life is thrown into infidelity disarray when the new temp, Lisa (Larter), turns out to be a righteous fox both in the physical and predatory sense. Given that Derek wound up marrying his last female assistant, Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), he's initially reluctant to tell anyone about Lisa's aggressive enticements—an Achilles heel that is the playground for his demise.

It would be easy shorthand to describe "Obsessed" as "Fatal Attraction" with more diverse casting, but that wouldn't be entirely true. This new thriller, though a glossy, lacks both the moral ambiguity that made the 1980s classic so compellingly complex.

That's mainly because the liaison here between Derek and delusional stalker Lisa never becomes as undeniable as the Michael Douglas-Glenn Close attraction that proved so, well, fatal. This one's a lot more one-sided, which, for better or worse, makes Derek more safely sympathetic than Douglas' straying Dan.

This same story has been told literally hundreds of times. And "Obsessed" makes no attempt to shift or alter the clichéd structure or twist the inevitable climax. There are no surprises other than the increasing hilarity of each successive compromising scenario the characters find themselves in.

In fact one could argue that the plotline of "Obsessed" reads like a thinly-veiled remake of "Fatal Attraction," as it features so many similarities to that classic thriller that the original's scriptwriter, James Dearden, deserves to share a credit for the screenplay. Whether it's the suicidal sexpot, the kidnapping of Derek's son, his fed-up wife's being forced to take the law into her own hands, or the femme fatale having nine lives in the climactic finale, the story often looks like a line-by-line rip-off. However, how many movies are in fact original stories? The power of this movie lies in it’s ability to keep the audience engaged. Each scene brought a new outrage. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a theatre that brought out so much audience reaction. I even found myself cringing and angry at the characters. And when all is said and done, it’s a plot everyone can relate to.

Nonetheless, that being said, the three principal cast members throw themselves into their respective roles with such gusto that they manage to generate a palpable tension which makes this B-version feel genuinely fresh and exciting.

Even more note worthy is Beyonce. I want to be clear, while I’m a big fan of Beyonce’s singing career I’ve always maintained the thought that she should hang up her acting aspirations. This is the first film that I felt differently. Dare I say that she was not only acceptable, but believable. And perhaps that’s been the biggest fault of Beyonce’s past roles.

Sharon is no prim or proper songstress, nor is some strung out artist. She’s simply a normal, rough around the edges young mother. After all, I’ve never considered Beyonce herself to be the most eloquent communicator.

Bottom Line: This movie is a must see. I truly enjoyed myself.



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