Obsession (1976)Closed Captioning
Brian De Palma
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Michael Courtland's (Cliff Robertson) tenth anniversary celebration ends tragically when his wife (Genevieve Bujold) and child are kidnapped. Though his business partner (John Lithgow) helps make arrangements to pay the ransom, neither wife nor child is recovered, leaving Courtland consumed with guilt over the thought that he botched the deal. Still lonely and grieving ten years later, he goes to Florence -- the city where he and his wife first met -- and where, under astonishingly similar circumstances, he meets a young woman (Bujold) who is her exact double. Obsessed and desperate to have this new woman for himself, Courtland persuades her to return to the States and marry him, and to fuel his fantasy even further by adopting his late wife's style of hair and clothing. On the eve of their wedding, Courtland discovers his new wife is missing and a ransom note, a duplicate of the one written ten years earlier, pinned to her bed. Determined not to fail this time, he delivers the money as demanded. However, upon discovering that the young woman is part of a scheme she concocted with his business partner, Courtland is outraged. And after killing his partner, gun in hand, he rushes to the airport where he confronts the young woman... and reaches a startling conclusion.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 14
- Fresh: 11
- Rotten: 3
- Average Rating: 6.0/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Another of De Palma's fearlessly experimental whims.
One of Brian De Palma's most underrated films ever made!!
They sure don't make thrillers like "Obesssion" anymore. This movie has it all: an excellent plot, gripping suspense, and a top-notch cast!! "Obsession" is one of Brian DePalma's ("Dressed to Kill", "The Untouchables") earliest, and most underrated films ever made. It is a thriller of tremendous power and grace.
I personally think that Brian DePalma is one of our very best directors. I would even classify him as a great director. His best films are his thrillers, which are inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's work. Most critics think DePalma is nothing more than someone who rips off Hitchcock. But in his defense, he does not rip off Hitch. He is his own artist. He has his own agenda in each and every film he has made.
"Obsession" is often touted as a "rehash of Vertigo". But DePalma takes the basic premise and turns it upside down, creating twists and revelations that Hitchcock only dreamed of. The film stars Cliff Robertson (1968 Best Actor Academy Award winner for "Charly"), in his usual fine performance as New Orleans real estate developer Michael Courtland, a man whose wife and daughter are kidnapped and killed in a setup gone bad, and blames himself for the next 15 years, from 1959 (where the film opens) to 1975, with Courtland standing at the graves of his wife and daughter. Courtland goes to Italy for business when he sees a young woman who strongly resembles his late wife (and since both are played by the lovely Geneviève Bujold, this is no coincidence). You can pretty much guess the rest...or can you??
Another thing that makes "Obsession" such a great movie is the last 20-25 minutes of the film, with a shocking twist you'll never see coming!! Cliff Robertson and Geneviève Bujold give incredible performances, and John Lithgow (in an early performance) is great as Robertson's business partner. "Obsession" is basically disregarded due to comparisons with Hitchcock's "Vertigo", but De Palma makes a film that is more satisfying than "Vertigo" (still a brilliant film to this very day). "Obsession" is shorter at 98 minutes (1 hour and 38 minutes), but it has a deliberate pace that makes it feel longer. In a lesser work, it would be intolerable, but here it is appropriate. Technically, this is among De Palma's best works, with the beautiful camerawork complimenting a haunting, disturbing story. The story takes it's time, and while the slow pace may bother some viewers, patient viewers will realize that it works to draw them in. By the time it is over, it feels like you have just come out of a dreamlike, or nightmarish, trance.
There is definitely a very high possibility that I will be getting "Obsession" on iTunes ASAP!! If you're a fan of Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson, or Geneviève Bujold, then trust me, you will not be disappointed whatsoever with "Obsession"!!
- Genre: Drama
- Released: 1976
- © 1975, renewed 2003 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.