Written by Sarah Stunt and directed by Aashish Chanana, Obsessions is about famed actress Maria Breeze (Olga Safari). She and her boyfriend, Danny (Bobby Slaski), are celebrating the end of a successful movie shoot. Their conversation turns terse, and an accident sends Maria over the balcony. While injured, she didn’t die as she landed in the pool.
Of course, the media is in a frenzy over what happened and whether the fall was truly an accident. To squash any over-the-top speculation, Maria agrees to an exclusive interview with reporter/superfan Lilly (Andrea Figliomeni). Danny is going to film their talk, as he is obsessed with filming everything Maria does. Upon meeting, Lilly and Maria hit it off, seeing a lot of each other in one another. This leads to the reporter staying for dinner and drinks after. But things become tense when it’s discovered someone at the house is leaking elicit videos of the actor. Is it the reporter aiming for the scoop of a lifetime? Is it Danny hoping to capitalize on the news cycle surrounding Maria?
Obsessions examines the toll brought on by constantly being in the public eye, every action scrutinized. It asks if it is possible to always live that way and whether one can escape that fate. Later on, when the thriller portion takes over, the themes also include abusive relationships and why one would ignore red flags. So, yes, the 85-minute runtime packs a lot in.
“…someone at the house is leaking elicit videos of the actor.”
Happily, the filmmaker never overextends anything, so each piece fits nicely together. While the sound mixing isn’t very good, especially in the scene before the accident, the cinematography is very strong. The opening shots of Maria in a striking red dress underwater instantly hook all watching. The set design of Maria’s fortress of a home is excellent, as is the costuming.
The cast of Obsessions is also good. Safari seems a bit stiff until the interview, but that is the point. Her character doesn’t believe she can be honest with anyone, so she puts up walls. However, she loosens up a bit once they fall and is very believable. Figliomeni is charming and sweet as the reporter, and she and Safari share excellent chemistry.
Salski is a lot of fun to hate as Danny. He’s always on, and the actor plays it more as pathological than anything malevolent. Nicholas Manelick is droll as the actor’s chef, and he gets some big laughs. Kevin Bernstein, as Peter, is excellent, but his character is tied to some big spoilers, so that’s enough on him.
Obsessions plays its hand close to the vest for a while. As such, a few viewers might get bored waiting for the more intense moments. But they’d be missing the point, as the thrills stem from how much audiences have come to care for these people who now have to worm their way out of an uncomfortable and fraught situation. The acting is great, the visuals are equally so, and they are enough to compel anyone to reach the end.
"…the cinematography is very strong."