Successful surgeon William (Richard Armitage) locks eyes with a younger woman across the packed room at a fancy drinks reception. The sexual chemistry is immediately palpable (and more than a little awkward to watch) between the pair as he feeds her an olive from his glass. The woman is Anna (Charlie Murphy) and (surprise!) she’s his son’s (Rish Shaw) latest girlfriend who he can’t wait for his family to meet. Despite everything that’s blindingly wrong with this situation, William cannot keep away from Anna, and the pair begin an erotic affair.
This is the core premise of four-part Netflix series Obsession. In fact, aside from a handful of contrived plot threads that do little to elevate the drama, that’s all there is to this lusty thriller. William and Anna continue to meet for sex regularly while hoping nobody catches on to what they’re doing. That’s all the depth these characters are given, which just so happens to be as lifeless as the romance between them. Though there’s plenty of nudity and saucy content to justify the show’s 18 certificate, the scenes themselves lack any sense of intimacy. Most of the show is comprised of watching the protagonists emotionlessly go at it repeatedly, with the script expecting viewers to become invested in what’s happening.
When William and Anna aren’t having their steamy fling, Obsession is far too overdramatic to take seriously. Everything is constantly turned up to 11 for the sake of generating melodrama. Alongside characters screaming at each other at the top of their lungs, the over-the-top score, which seems to have taken its cues from 40s noir cinema, feels out of place with its sweeping strings and foreboding chords, coming across as unintentionally comedic as a result.
None are as bizarre to watch as a sequence where William sneaks into the Parisian hotel room Anna shared with his son and aggressively sniffs her pillow while pleasuring himself. There are no other scenes that better demonstrate the levels of awkwardness and laugh-out-loud hilarity of this Netflix show. While watching Armitage making love to a pillow is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed, this spectacle isn’t worth the pain of sitting through this mini-series for.
Obsession is released on Netflix on 13th April 2023.
Watch the trailer for Obsession here: