Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
For every 'Lord of the Rings,' there's an 'In the Name of the King' to confuse and flat out insult critics and audiences alike. Whenever a brilliant zombie film like 'Dawn of the Dead' lurches to theaters, its antithesis ('House of the Dead') and twelve of its cousins bombard home video, much to our dismay.
'Fatal Attraction?' You opened the door for more rip-offs than a bottle of Nair. 'Obsessed' just so happens to be the latest, and (not so) greatest one yet!
Derek Charles (Idris Elba) has it all. He's the Executive Vice President of Gage & Bendix Alternative Asset Management, pulling down some serious bank. He just bought a swanky new pad. He has a trophy wife in Sharon (Beyonce Knowles), and a two year old son who is the apple of his eye.
He also has a psycho bitch stalker in Lisa (Ali Larter), a new temp in his workplace who misinterprets everything that happens as only the truly nutty ones can, convincing herself Derek wants to be with her. When a drunken come on fails, a sultry move by Lisa is greeted with scorn. Naturally, Lisa will go to any length to get what she wants, and she doesn't care who, or what, is in her way.
I'd like to apologize for the overly generic synopsis I wrote above. I find it only fitting to be as bland as possible describing this film, as I really don't want to come across as someone who can find a single damn thing worthwhile in this film.
If you've seen a single relationship thriller, you've seen 'Obsessed.' There is absolutely nothing new to be found here, no tweaks to the formula, no shocking plot twists, or genre redefining scenes.
Where to begin? Well, we know we're in a film of this genre, naturally, by the cover art, or if you were unlucky enough to have caught the trailer, and this film makes no allusions that it wants to be anything more than just a run of the mill crazy chick "thrill ride." From the moment we meet Lisa (at the same time Derek does, of course), we are greeted with an ominous bit of score. I'm sure this would make sense if we found out that in the past they had some horrible history and vowed to kill each other if they were in the same room again, but for an innocuous first meeting, it makes no sense. I honestly wish Derek could have heard the score, so that he'd know there was something wrong here. It also ruins any real drama to be found later in the film, when the crazy comes out in full force. These off-putting musical cues repeat, of course, before the real stalking begins, just to make sure we, the audience, know there's something else going on here...
The acting is unconvincing, at best. No one in this cast seems to be happy they're receiving their paychecks. They don't believe in the believability of their own roles, so how can we? Elba is surrounded by the "I've done this role before on 'Heroes'" apathy of Larter and the complete acting incompetence of Knowles. It has to be said: Beyonce really needs to hang it up and stick to her music career before she ruins an actual good film.
The writing is painful. We are reminded of Lisa's sex appeal, as she's not just the new temp..she's the new temp-tress! Wow, I get it! Was her entire career as a temp written in just so that we could get that sparkling gem of a one liner? I'm still doing my best to block out the dialogue of the film as a whole, as conversations all felt forced, rehearsed, and excessively melodramatic.
When a film makes 'Swimfan' look good, you know you're in trouble. When you borrow elements from 'Swimfan,' you're not just in trouble: you're screwed. Maybe you're in the mood for something wholly unbelievable. Perhaps you want to see a film with some body doubles with outrageously mannish features standing in for the female roles, or a film where an item being used as a weapon has parts disappear and reappear from shot to shot (continuity, it's important). Perhaps you're a masochist. If you want to see this film, don't say you weren't warned.
'Obsessed' comes to Blu-ray with an impressive transfer, in the AVC MPEG-4 encode. As tiring as the film itself is, there's nothing boring here. It's actually quite strong, though held back by some annoying negative elements.
Detail is sharp throughout the film, with backgrounds and foregrounds alike draped in a level of clarity that is quite simply beautiful. While interior shots are nice, the few exterior shots in the film are the shining moments, with a brighter, crisper, and cleaner picture. 'Obsessed' also sports a great three dimensional feel, natural skin colors, sharp contrast, sharp whites and deep blacks. The print is dirt free, though some odd scratches pop up from time to time, just lightly tainting an otherwise impeccably clean source.
On the flip side of that happy list of positives, delineation is poor, with detail often lost to the shadows. While the grain level is quite minimal for the entire film, there are a few moments with a "spiking" grain level that just don't look right compared to the rest of the film. Lastly, and most importantly, there are bits of edge enhancement visible, little light halos surrounding characters, making darker backgrounds ever so much lighter just around them.
The audio for 'Obsessed' is less than obsessed with giving you an active sound mix. It really couldn't care less.
There isn't much for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix to do here. While the dialogue is all clear and crisp, without any weird feedback sounds or fidelity issues, this film sounds like it was mixed for sound in the 1970's. There is no surround presence. Sure, the soundtrack and score have some bleed through the channels, but even they seem embarrassed to be associated with this film (that's my theory, at least), as they don't show up all that often. The LFE kicks in mostly with the score, and a few times for an atmospheric effect (including a nice ripple in one sequence), but otherwise it lies dormant. Add it all up and you have a sound mix that is so front heavy, cheap feeling, and flat out uninventive that it's damn near laughable.
We are also given the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 treatment with the French and Portuguese dub tracks, while the Spanish track is presented with a basic Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Subtitles include two English options, Portuguese, Spanish, and French.
The back of the package for 'Obsessed' promises us a feature delving into a cat fight, and "much more!" I can't blame them for not being honest by stating "and not much else," but these extras are about as devoid of substance as an extra could possibly be.
- Playing Together Nicely (HD, 15 min) - A look at the making of the film, from concept to script, character ideas and motivations, and onward to recapping the tale, in a sense. A fairly fluffy piece that's for fans only.
- Girl Fight! (HD, 11 min) - The only feature advertised on the package (besides BD-Live capabilities), this one handles the climax of the scene, the cat fight (which, by the way, was beyond predictable, and somewhat of a cop out finale, considering the film is about Derek and Lisa and their interactions far more than those between Sharon and Lisa. The crew talks about how unentertaining a real life cat fight can be, the use of stunt doubles, and how well the actors adapted to the extensive scene.
- Obsessed: Dressed to Kill (HD, 9 min) - A feature that covers costume design, hitting on what the clothing for each character means, why it suits their mentalities. A real pass for me, but I can imagine people who actually care about fashion enjoying this one.
- Previews - A generic BD promo, plus trailers for 'Not Easily Broken,' 'Cadillac Records,' 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'Lakeview Terrace,' 'The Pursuit of Happyness,' 'Stomp the Yard,' 'First Sunday,' and 'Seven Pounds.'
Perhaps I can be grateful, as I personally believe the sour makes the sweet that much better. Maybe the next film I watch I'll enjoy that much more, knowing that it will not be 'Obsessed.' This Blu-ray does a good job of presenting what little there is to the film, but the supplement package is devoid of interesting detail. I came away from this one a bit less 'Obsessed' than I was 'Indifferent,' which would have made a much better title for this one, as it will leave audiences feeling exactly that.
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