Still Obsessed Enough to Watch “Obsession”

Yes, I admit that I watched it in its entirety on the first night, as at around 2 and a half hours, it could have been called a movie, rather than a limited series. Obsession is a taut and stylish thriller, which held my attention throughout and which I enjoyed. In my opinion, it is one of the best productions Richard Armitage has been in in a while. It also confirms my suspicion that I just don’t find The Armitage as attractive as I once did. (Is it him or is it me?) Was his neck always that skinny in comparison to his head?

The best things about Obsession are the music, which brilliantly keeps the tension up, and the wonderful old décor and complementary lighting. The acting, including the sex, is good and conveys the urgency of the obsession — I’m not sure there is anything very “sexy” about an obsession (him) or a compulsion (her), so much as there is a sense of desperate urgency, which is very evident throughout. As were the terrible consequences, with the tension building towards those consequences being maintained to the climax [of the show, not the sex acts lol].

As for the story, this rewrite does a good job of blame being shared by both the male and female parties. In fact, in my opinion, the situation is made to reflect much more negatively on the man than on the woman of the affair.

The Sex (Read No Further if You Don’t Want to Know)

There is something very uncomfortable about listening to the grunts and groans in the sex scenes, more so than the actual viewing of them, for me at least. A sex act is a sex act, but the noises can be more personal and intimate, revealing a person’s more animalistic tendencies. The one scene of solo sex by Armitage does feel very intrusive. It’s not sexy, and it feels like we are witnessing the privately, desperate obsession of the single participant. (It doesn’t feel like we are witnessing what the man might do for fun.)

I’ve seen some reviews that say the actors look like they need the toilet, rather than looking like they are sexually obsessed, or that the solo act is laughable. Here’s the thing… I think that sex (solo or partnered) and desire, when viewed from outside, can seem laughable. And maybe everyone giggles a bit, perhaps through embarrassment at witnessing something so personal. (Unless a person is deliberately watching porn, I suppose.) But to me, both Richard Armitage and Charlie Murphy did an excellent job demonstrating sexual urgency, compulsion, and obsession.

The partnered sex is fast and rough, but again it is due to urgency. I really wouldn’t have labelled this as BDSM, as such. However, there is some blindfolding and ad hoc restraint, as well as loss of/gain of control through mild hair-pulling and pulling of clothing. There is a need being met for her for reasons to be explained, but for him it is about obsession, jealousy, the need to possess.

Armitage and Murphy are both fully naked during many of the sex scenes, but the primary genitalia are not on display during these scenes. I was as usual impressed with the strength (okay and beauty) of Armitage’s buttocks and thighs. In one particular scene, the physical strength is clearly evident where he is essentially in a crab-walk position doing all the work and she is above him. Impressively athletic. Perhaps because of the urgency involved in all of it, I didn’t find these scenes particularly erotic, even though they are sexual.

As noted in the press, there is full-frontal nudity on Armitage’s part [no pun intended], but it is during a casual walk from showering in the marital home. Did I pause the show and go closer to the TV for closer examination? Well, of course I did. And? He looks like a normal man coming from the shower.

Here’s a general question… once the basic equipment has been on view, where is the mystery?

5 thoughts on “Still Obsessed Enough to Watch “Obsession”

  1. Thanks for sharing your impression, Sue. Your evaluation of the sex in Obsession chimes with me – certainly not very sexy at all, which befits the theme of the show, in a way.


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