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We all need a paycheck. Even James Bond has to take his medicine
sometimes, and "Obsession" would be long lost and forgotten if not for
the Craigies who dare venture this far into Daniel's resume.
The editing is bad and the direction is worse. It's all the pointlessness of an independent film, meets the random technique of a foreign film. And don't be fooled by the cover of the new release, which bills it as some kind of thriller. It's really a meandering love story about a self-absorbed tramp with two boyfriends. One is a big jerk and the other is a sweet English boy, the child version of Daniel Craig, complete with higher voice (but don't worry, he still looks forty). Said Tramp is the same one from "Love Actually." She's too stupid to make up her mind, and thinks it's cute to string men along when they're both being faithful to her. And she has no personality, because her character is deliberately vacant or because the script doesn't allow for it, but both guys are smitten with her. For some reason they think they can't do better. (Well I guess Jerk is lucky to have anybody, but Sweet certainly could.)
The story tries to go somewhere but doesn't care if you're actually following. It does have some good scenes (all Daniel's) and some pieces of decent direction sprinkled in, but the main relationship doesn't work. Sweet and Tramp never even get introduced; the editor hacks them together and they hardly say a word before they're suddenly "in love." Little else is explained, including a shoplifting incident that is the catalyst for the whole movie. This is one of the few segments of good direction, but it occurs in the first five minutes of the film and suggests that the rest will be similarly coherent. (Any hope of that is dashed five minutes later.) It happens and then is dropped completely and seems like a plot from another, better movie.
So, this thing is a mess. But worth seeing just for Craig. He turns in a solid performance, but has stepped up his game nicely from such beginnings.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Somewhat of a chick-flick, since there were a few too many cute
coincidences......still, I loved this film! Along the lines of Amelie
and Chungking Express, it was sweet,involves stalking, is darkly funny,
AND has a love story. Why does true love always seem to make stalking
Miriam witnesses John MacHale fighting the police in a train station, and testifies in court that he was only trying to help. John was trying to help an elderly Russian man chased down by police....for stealing buttons! From that moment when she testifies, John is obsessed with Miriam. He goes to her house, yet admits plainly he was looking for her, so she lets down her guard. He starts following her, tells her his story about why he is in Berlin. He is researching a photo of tightrope walkers, which he thinks has something to do with his grandmother's death. He also befriends the Russian man and his brother, and they help him in his search and with wooing Miriam.
John MacHale was kind of creepy in his devotion to Miriam, but he came off as sweet,none the less. I mean, from the beginning he is saying things fit for a soap-opera to her: She asks simply if he is staying in Berlin,and he right away says "Are you afraid i'll leave?", at once turning the conversation serious and emotional. But once you figure he is harmless, it would be hard to resist such devotion.
I figure Miriam fell for him because the boyfriend Pierre was such an unemotional bastard. They must have some sort of bond, but he is kind of cold. John is all emotion.
Once John went away, Miriam realizes she misses him all right. He sewed elephants on a jacket for her (awww)...like a puppy dog he follows her everywhere, asking "Can I come?" It's kind of selfish, but Miriam must like being so wanted. Even though she refuses him again and again, John doesn't give up. I was expecting something Fatal Attraction like because of the title and blurb on Netflix, so i was pleasantly surprised.
The rest of the movie is Miriam having feelings for both men, and about John's search for the identity of the tightrope walker. It all ties together beautifully. One moment this movie is sad, the next it's surreal and funny. It's not terribly realistic, but romantics might like it.
Parts I loved: The Russian brother who steals buttons just because they "glistened so nicely"...and John put those same kind of buttons on Miriam's jacket. John and Miriam eating candy, watching a present they set out on a fence, waiting for someone to take it. "Sunglasses for a one eyed monster"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
yet baffling as well. Often times when viewing foreign films which I love to do, I realize that there is such a Huge difference between American movies and cinematic "ART." That said, with "Obsession," we get a tale of one woman who at the start of the film is having a relationship w/ one man. Through coincidence, meeting the second man, she is honest and lets him know that they cannot have an affair. However, it is clear to see that as she keeps asking her boyfriend to "..look at me," that something is missing from their relationship. With the second man/character you see a void filled. He is sweet, caring, fun, loving. Her boyfriend is anal, entrenched in his work & very different from the second man. That said, once the female character loves both men, I get frustrated at her lack of compassion. Her character becomes placid, almost child like about the way she is treating these two men who love her. Why? She explains (to John, the second love played by Daniel Craig, who asks her to be only w/ him as he feels tortured) that she would miss Pierre if she left him for John. Quel Selfish! O.K. she is having more than just cake to eat, she is having the entire buffet. Her wall of disregard for their feelings makes for an unsettling and frustrating viewing towards the end. And the end will either tick you off or leave you going, "what?"
I happen to watch this German film because a friend of mine, who has an
amazing knack of choosing bad films, happened to have a DVD of
OBSESSION when I recently visited him. He asked me if I wanted to watch
it and having suffered from his previous choices (THE FAMILY STONE, THE
SKELETON KEY...), I wasn't about to say yes but then he gave me no
other options and I had to sit through another miserable cinematic
experience. And, wow, this one was bad! 40 minutes into the movie and
my friend looked at me and said that he couldn't follow anything and
nothing made sense. I couldn't agree more with him. The story and or
direction rarely made any sense whatsoever. It tried to be eclectic and
cute but ended up looking amateurish and confused. What was Daniel
Craig thinking when he agreed to do this? Something was probably lost
in translation here because the level of absurdity over the Daniel
Craig character's obsession with the Niagara tightrope walkers was
risible and not credible at all. We couldn't take any of it seriously,
and that includes the dialogue, the acting, the flat direction and
whatever story there was here. It is good hearted but that's not enough
to make up for the absurdity of it all.
There's a love scene at the beginning which made both of us laugh out loud at the same time. We went "Well, that was fast".
Suffice to say, my friend was really bummed out after watching this inexplicably awful film, more than me because, knowing my friend's luck with movies, my expectations were already pretty low to begin with.
What a disappointment! Three cardboard characters thrown together: the hot, co-dependent German girl (played by the eternally underrated Heike Makatsch), who inexplicably becomes torn between two whiny dweebs -- a fragile French wimp (never saw this actor before - competent, but way too doe-eyed) and an overly emotional, childish, uninteresting nothing (pre-Bond Daniel Craig, not so much acting as impersonating Rod Steiger). A series of contrived situations bring these three together, in a sort of Männer for Morons... Painful to watch, but good for an occasional unintentional laugh... Geeze, I have never written such a scathing review...
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