BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Obsession offers us two parts of nothing new, one of a woman obsessed with a man, and the other, of a man obsessed with a woman. Because we have seen a lot of material on obsessive psychopathic behavior, from Hollywood’s Michael Ealy in The Perfect Guy to Ali Larter in Obsessed, we thirst for a new perspective. Obsession, unfortunately, doesn’t give that.
Instead it tells the story of two families, one of which the husband, Bayo Davis, is a movie star and the wife, Tricia, is a busy career woman who loves her work more than her home. They decide to get a babysitter for their toddler when they can no longer keep up, and this turns out to be Aret, a job-seeker who has crushed madly on the actor for a while. She resumes but harbours and finally executes her ulterior agenda of seducing him.
On the flipside is Ene, wife of Tega Umukoro who is fixated on his work after a promotion. She tries to get to him, but he is in too deep, he barely notices her. By chance, she meets Kamar, a good-looking sensitive young man, and they begin an affair. In time, Ene realizes he wants more than she can offer, and tries to call it quits. Kamar isn’t having any of that, and kidnaps her son as punishment.
While the obsession stories aren’t bad in themselves, they aren’t great either. The movie seems to preach to you, and give the idea that being busy equals being cold and unfeeling towards your partner. This is simply exhausting to watch, knowing we have seen this play out a thousand times before in film.
We also do not understand why the obsessed parties are that way, as with most obsession-centered films. We do not know if it is a mental condition or just out of the sheer evilness of man’s heart. If the movie had shed a little light on this, perhaps this would have given it some kind of edge.
The strongest point of this film would have to be its sex scenes, which are sensual and daring, giving the Nigerian audience’s reaction to such. The actors, while not going completely nude, give an impression of having sex that is both believable and commendable.
Yemi Blaq and Judith Audu play the Davis couple. They are not in love; not by their looks, words or actions. It is the same with the Umukoros, played by Femi Branch and Odera Olivia Orji. This makes one wonder if the recipe for stalking is a loveless marriage. Ifu Ennada plays Aret, the obsessed nanny. While it is hard to see beyond her hideous wigs, she gives a noteworthy performance that looks like the beginning of a promising acting career. Mawuli Gavor is particularly stiff, and doesn’t sell the ‘I’m in love and slightly crazy’ role he is meant to sell in this film. In his final scene, his character walks in after a kidnap with no plan of escape, no weapon of defense, and nothing at all to show he is as dangerous as he is portrayed, and this is just sad.
A 2017 film written by Rita Onwurah, produced by Judith Audu, and directed by Uduak Obong-Patrick, Obsession is one you’re likely to remember only for its lovemaking scenes. It begins predictably, concludes emptily and could use a lot more originality.