By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 19, 2023 |
By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 19, 2023 |
Those familiar with the work of Richard Armitage probably expect to see him a certain kind of way: Grim, composed, down-to-business. The man doesn’t smile. He glares. And smolders. And sometimes, he f**ks a pillow.
I cannot tell you how bizarre and unsettling it is to see Richard Armitage — Thorin from The Hobbit movies — pounce on a hotel bed like a Basset Hound sniffing out a treat in search of the scent of his lover, the previous occupant of the hotel room. When he finally finds the scent lingering on a throw pillow, he stuffs his face into it as though the scent is the only thing keeping him alive. After wildly sniffing the pillow for a few seconds, Armitage turns over in the bed and — while the pillow is stuffed over his face — yanks down his jeans and starts to jerk it. After a few seconds of that, Armitage turns back over, stuffs the pillow beneath him, and f**ks it to fruition, trembling and then crying.
I like Armitage: Chiseled good looks, the ability to glower on cue, and a lack of personality. He’s a blank slate. He is the epitome of serviceable, a perfect mid-tier Netflix actor, and he has excelled in Harlen Coben series like Stay Close and The Stranger, modest mysteries that are watched and quickly forgotten. Obsession will not soon be forgotten.
There is a lot of steamy sex in Obsession, but unless you have a specific kink, it’s probably not going to do much for you. It made me incredibly uncomfortable. That’s because Armitage’s character, surgeon William Farrow, spends a lot of time f**king his son’s fiance, Anna (Charlie Murphy). He sees her across a room at a party, and they wordlessly stare at each other, and soon thereafter, they are having animalistic sex on floors, up against walls, and out in alleys. It’s uncomfortable because I was in constant fear that either William’s son, Jay (Rish Shah), or his wife, Ingrid (Indira Varma, seriously slumming it) would catch them in the act. They are not particularly careful.
When William is not having sex with Anna, he’s stalking her, following her around the city, even if that also means tracking her while she’s with his son. Anna does not mind. She is submissive. She wants to be told what to do. She agrees to marry William’s son because William commands it.
That is not the only ick thing going on here, however. Anna is engaged to Jay because Jay looks like her brother … who she was also f**king, at least until he killed himself because of his obsession with his sister. This is a pattern in Anna’s life. Men — even those related to her — develop dangerous sexual obsessions with her. She encourages those obsessions by having sex with them until their lives are invariably destroyed by their need to be f**king Anna at all times.
That’s what happens to William. It’s a bit of an odd-duck limited series, in that it’s only four episodes, which are around 35 minutes each — it’s a long movie broken into four episodes. In fact, it’s a remake of a 1992 film starring Jeremy Irons called Damage; both are based on the Josephine Hart novel.
Spoilers: What we all expect to happen finally happens the night before Anna and Jay’s wedding. William leaves Jay’s stag party. Jay has a weird feeling, so he follows his Dad. Minutes later, when he opens the door to Anna’s apartment and catches his fiance having sex with his Dad, he backs away in horror, falls over the banister, and plunges to his death. All poor William can do is run out of the room butt naked, hold his son’s corpse, and weep.
William’s wife, Ingrid, is devastated. Her husband not only cheated on her but was the cause of her son’s death. She wails and throws herself against things until her face is bloody. Needless to say, the funeral is awkward. But thank god, William learned his lesson, right? His wife left him, his son is dead, his daughter hates him. How much more rock bottom could he go? Not rock bottom enough, because his obsession with Anna does not wane. Eventually, Anna has to do what she always has to do, which is to pack her bags and flee to another city, where she’ll start the cycle all over again.