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Steven Knight has been establishing himself as an interesting screenwriter and Serenity director in commercial cinema. His films are abundant in dialogue and precise in the image, but if before his style had lent itself to complex crime stories with social conscience, such as endearing business (2002) and East Promises (2007), in Obsesión (2019) we find ourselves with a Knight outdated and out of the contemporary world.

I can’t reveal exactly why, but the viewer will understand when they see the film that the director and screenwriter makes a poor plot about a very particular element of our culture. Amid contradictions, obvious ignorance of the subject and a perspective similar to that of the US Senate on heavy metal in the 80s believed that it turned young people into murderers and drug addicts, Knight ends up making a ridiculous argument.

This would be only a mild impediment to greatness, if it weren’t for the fact that the rest of Obsesión suggests Hitchcock’s influence with his first take, which goes back to the beginning of Vertigo (1958). An extreme close-up eye in the center of the painting welcomes us to the story of Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey), a fisherman on an island where everyone literally knows each other. Baker seems haunted by the loss of a son, whom he remembers in terrible sequences that resemble an insurance commercial, with everything and childish laughter on the audio track.

One day, a blonde from his past — also a Hitchcockian — shows up to ask him to help her kill her husband in a sport fishing “accident”. Anne Hathaway plays her with a mystery perhaps appropriate for a 1940s movie, while Karen’s (Hathaway) husband Frank (Jason Clarke) is portrayed as relentlessly malevolent and sexually wicked. On the other side of morals, Baker is intense and satisfyingly erotic, and in one scene his sexuality seems to ease Karen’s pains. It is also a Hitchcockian scenario but, unlike the English teacher, it is obvious and crude. The comparison between the two filmmakers only makes the film worse.

Duration: 119 min


IMDb: 7.8