Brian De Palma has always been one of my favorite directors, Scarface and Blow Out being my two favorites. Well in 1976, right before Carrie he made a very low key under the radar film called Obsession. It’s a Hitchcock style mystery starring Cliff Robertson and John Lithgow.
Obsession is set in 1959 and focuses on Michael Courtland. His wife and daughter are kidnapped and the police come up with an idea to give the kidnappers a briefcase full of paper instead of actual cash. He agrees but things go south quickly. During the getaway the kidnappers are killed in a car crash trying to escape. Unfortunately Michael’s wife and daughter are in the car with them and perish as well.
The films picks up years later where Michael has become a shell of himself and is obsessed with his late wife. He spends all his free time at a replica of a church he had built in her honor. It reminds him of where they met when they were both in Italy. One day his real estate partner asks Michael to come with him to Italy on a business trip hoping it will cheer him up. However when they arrive Michael visits the church where he met his late wife and runs into a lady who looks exactly like her. Seeing as he’s already half insane he decides to start romancing here in the hopes of turning her into a replica of his late wife.
If that isn’t weird enough, Sandra, his now new wife is kidnapped on their wedding night and Michael is given the same ransom note he was given years prior to when his first wife was kidnapped. This leads Michael into his final decent of madness. Throw in an amazing twist ending and redemption and you have one amazing film.
The directing is top notch. De Palma can frame everything perfectly and his pacing in Obsession is nothing short of amazing. The film is fairly short, clocking in at about an hour and forty minutes but it never once slows down. Sure you get a quick stop to catch your breath but that’s in. This truly is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing what’s going to happen until the very end.
I can’t praise the score enough either. Composed by Bernard Hermann it fits the film perfectly. It adds to the tension in every sense of the word. It really sets the tone for each and every scene. It’s definitely one I recommend you pick up for your music collection.
Overlooked due primarily to the fact Carrie, also by De Palma came out the same year and was a hit at the box office Obsession is a rather obscure title in the director’s filmography. Well thanks to the fine folks at Scream Factory you can now watch it the way it was always meant to be seen, in a beautiful Blu-ray transfer. The video and audio are amazing, as are all Scream Factory titles. They even have it loaded with special features.
NEW Audio Commentary With Author Douglas Keesey (Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen: A Life In Film)
NEW Producing Obsession – An Interview With Producer George Litto
· NEW Editing Obsession – An Interview With Editor Paul Hirsch
· Obsession Revised – Vintage Featurette Featuring Interviews With Director Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson, And Geneviève Bujold
· Theatrical Trailer
· Radio Spots
· Still Gallery
A thriller that must be watched Obsession is a must own movie for your collection. You won’t see the ending coming, you will love the story and acting, and you will definitely be on the edge of your seat watching on hell of an amazing film from Brian De Palma
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars