REVIEW: ‘Obsession’ Is A Seductive Thriller With A Decent Plot

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Obsession — But Why Tho

This four-part limited Netflix series is being promoted as a modern-day adaption of Josephine Hart’s novel Damage, originally released in 1991. That book tells the story of forbidden lust that quickly turns into erotic passion. The series was co-written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Benji Walters and directed by Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Barros D’Sa. First and foremost, the show has a stellar cast, with Charlie Murphy playing the female lead. Richard Armitage and Indira Varma are among the other cast members.

As for the show itself, it follows William, a hard-working surgeon, with a seemingly perfect family life with a wife and two grown-up children. But that’s not enough for William. In his spare time, he is having a passionate affair with his son’s girlfriend, Anna. As their lust for each other continues, so does the likelihood that people will learn of their forbidden relationship.

Whilst Obsession is a good show, what initially goes against it is how confusing it is. At first, it’s slightly hard to understand exactly who is who. For example, early on in the show, the full context of William and Anna’s relationship isn’t straightforward, despite the intense intimacy shown between the characters. This may be to keep the show feeling mysterious but it doesn’t always work in its favour. Thankfully, the further into the series you are, the easier Obsession is to follow. Resulting in the chaotic nature of the show becoming far more enjoyable.

Also, what occurs, possibly due to the cluttered nature of the show, is that it initially seems wrongfully labeled as an erotic thriller. Yes, there is tension, but very little of it feels very sexual. Instead, most of the development initially comes from stares shared between characters and how an actor delivers their lines. Namely, in episode one, when the family are having lunch together. The scene doesn’t have much to it, but the cast & writing brings it together in a memorable way. This is because the scene around the dinner table is so low-key, as it is just a typical family conversation. But as viewers, we know the secret that both William and Anna share. Throw in the mix of the audience speculating whether anyone else around the table is aware of the secret, and it creates a killer, albeit not erotic, and dramatic scene. 

However, as Obsession progresses, so does the erotic nature. But, more importantly, it doesn’t become too much or unwarranted. That is because any scenes of sex and/or nudity are included to forward the story or provide insight into the minds of William and Anna. 

What helps keep Obsession interesting throughout all four episodes is how twisted it is. C’mon, William is sleeping with his son’s new girlfriend. And it seems that she started dating Jay not only fully aware of who his father is but turned on by the fact that she’s sleeping with both father and son. That is enough to certify the audience to binge the series in one sitting. As Obsession is a limited series, it would have benefitted from a stronger pilot that truly sucked the audience in. But it improves with each episode, with juicy (and sickening) plots, such as that particular storyline involving Anna’s deceased brother. 

For fans of the book, the series will also add something different. Whilst the book tells the story from William’s point of view, Obsession will include more of an all-rounded experience. Arguably, Anna becomes the key character in the show. With more of her experience being what the audience encounters during the four episodes. This brings a fresher and more modern-day perspective to the show. And increases the standard that the show would have otherwise.

Despite having a slightly slow start, Obsession soon grabs the audience and pulls them into the characters’ lives. Obsession is a show that the audience will remember. From shocking sub-plots and scenes that will stay with the viewers, the show has plenty of story development despite feeling quite slow in its first episode.

Obsession (2023)
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10


Despite having a slightly slow start, Obsession soon grabs the audience and pulls them into the characters’ lives. Obsession is a show that the audience will remember.

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