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Obsessed: Racy, raunchy and strangely romantic

Korean heartthrob Song Seung-heon's new film Obsessed is a tale of forbidden love, laced with sex and betrayal that is a tad predictable but is saved by its cast of interesting, complex characters.

SINGAPORE: Actor Song Seung-heon’s new film Obsessed is rated R21 for a reason.

It is raunchy, racy yet also romantic in its own way.

Set in 1960s Korea, Obsessed revolves around war hero Colonel Kim Jin-pyong (Song) who becomes smitten with Jong Ga-heun (Lim Ji-yeon), his subordinate Kyung Woo-jin’s (On Joo-wan) beautiful wife.

Kim and Jong fall for each other and have a torrid affair punctuated by frequent sexual trysts.

But things start to fall apart when their affair comes to light, and threatens to end in tragedy.

SIMPLE STORY, COMPLEX CHARACTERS

Obsessed has a relatively simple storyline that is completely focused on its characters, and is really about a man’s all-consuming obsession with a woman he is forbidden to love.

It is even a tad predictable and has lines that might sound a little too cheesy to some, but the film’s interesting cast of complex characters and the dramatic tension between them keeps the film from becoming boring despite its 132-minute running time.

Kim, for example, knows what he is doing isn’t right, yet cannot help but forge ahead despite being almost crushed by his sense of guilt. He even hatches a plot to remove Jong’s husband from the picture because he has fallen so deeply in love with Jong.

He is also torn between his sense of duty to his wife Lee Sook-jin (Jo Yeon Jong), whom he does not want to hurt, and his overwhelming desire to be with Jong.

It was entertaining to see how he tries to resolve his inner conflicts and curb his desire, yet gets inexorably drawn to Jong, all while his wife Lee struggles to be the perfect wife with a perfect life, and Kyung constantly jockeys for a promotion.

Song does a pretty good job playing Kim, which appears to be the perfect role for him. Song’s stiff and relatively wooden acting became an advantage when playing the stoic Kim, who keeps his feelings bottled up in the film.

Newcomer Lim was convincing as Jong, a woman stuck in a loveless marriage who tastes love for the very first time.    

The film’s cinematography is impressive as well. Almost every scene was beautifully shot and it was clear a lot of effort had been put in to recreate what life was like during that era.

SEXY NOT SLEAZY

As for Obsessed’s big sex scenes, they were never sleazy but designed to illustrate, albeit in a very graphic manner, the passion which exists between Kim and Jong.

Kim’s enthusiasm during their energetic sexual encounters contrasts sharply with the workman-like attitude he takes towards sex with his wife, who yearns for a child to complete her life.

However, Obsessed is let down by its abrupt and bizarre ending. It was too melodramatic and unbelievable.

The poor ending was an affront to the rest of the film, which was well-crafted in comparison.

3.5/5 stars.

Obsessed is rated R21 and opens in Singapore on July 31.

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