Thursday, 12 February 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: Film Review

Fifty Shades of Grey: Film Review

Cast: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson
Director: Sam Taylor- Johnson

The phrase goes that there's no pleasure without pain.

Sadly, in the film adaptation of EL James' soft-core mummy porn erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey, there's very little actual pleasure and a reasonable amount of cinematic pain.

For those uninitiated in the twisted love story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey and unaware of the push and pull of the "romance" and story of the dominant and submissive, the story goes a little like this:

Steele (a mousy, lip-biting Dakota Johnson) finds her life upended when she meets the young billionaire head of a telecommunications corporation Christian Grey (The Fall star Jamie Dornan). There's an attraction between the pair and Grey pursues Steele in manner that many would consider creepy and a cause for a restraining order - but when Steele decides to give him a chance (to which many sensible minded people would scream "Why?") she finds his world is about the BDSM and control rather than love and relationships.

Determined to change him, Steele ploughs on and opens up her virgin world to the pursuit of other pleasures, despite her conflicted views...

It's tempting to simply dismiss the Fifty Shades of Grey series as nothing more than a male fantasy written by a woman (a submissive woman willing to do everything the man wants) and I suspect there's probably a good reason why the book series have been so perennially popular with the imagination and escapism proving a large part of their appeal.

But it can't disguise the fact that the film version of the steamiest book around, which has sent conservative groups into a frenzy of fear that civilisation will end, is so mind-crushingly boring and so terrifically unsexy. (Even if you argue that the core audience will lap it up without question)

To be fair, the cinematography is stunning; pristine business vistas, Grey's world is all staunch regimented colours and some wonderful lighting and shots are peppered throughout; even Dakota Johnson brings a rounded humanity to the relatively one-note virginal Steele that's surprising - and there are even dashes of humour throughout that prove unexpected and welcome.

But in between the push and pull of the romantic tussle (Steele's continual argument is that she doesn't want to do this relationship, then she does and then she she doesn't), the terrible dialogue is endlessly distracting and unintentionally hilarious.

Lines like "If you were mine, you wouldn't be able to sit down for a week" or "I'm not going to touch you until I have your written consent" as well as scenes of butt-naked Jamie Dornan aka Grey playing a piano as he's troubled elicit more titters on the screen than the dreaming that potentially they'd garner on a small page.

Equally, there is so much talking about contracts, submission and what it entails, the back and forth of deliberations, that the apparently inherent deviant sexiness of the book is completely lost in the execution on the screen - and is certainly not the MO of those likely to whip themselves up into an outraged frenzy.

None more so than the actual softcore overly scored sex scenes, which are so technically brought to life, it's like watching an unerotic manual enacted by robots whose slightest interaction and touch elicits OTT deep breathing and ecstatic moans.

Films like 9 1/2 Weeks, Unfaithful, Nymphomaniac and Basic Instinct may have shocked and  been derided over the years but at least they had a degree of sensuality and danger that struck a chord (even if people wouldn't admit it).

Also, a relative lack of chemistry between the leads doesn't help matters - sure, there are scenes of Steele biting her lip and Grey looking lustfully on and plenty of those breathless moments when they're in each other's arms, but the crippling lack of any kind of sizzling intensity makes it nigh on unwatchable. Dornan doesn't help with committed wooden delivery in the film which starts off with rom-com trappings and then moves into long winded melodrama that belie its fan-fiction origins.

I'm sure all of this won't matter, though - the ticket sales are already through the roof and the fans are already crying that the critics don't understand (a claim levelled at so many of us during the Twilight Saga releases), with the phenomenon likely to be massive at the box office and relatively bullet-proof.

Fifty Shades of Grey may be an attempt at a twisted love story, but it's so engrossed in its own seriousness and execution that it ends up being tied up in knots of its own as it works slavishly to satiate its trembling audience, rather than attract new recruits to the cause.

Terribly boring, terrifically unsexy and with a cliffhanger ending that's laughable, this series is likely to be style over substance; a damp squib of an R18 film that's afraid to shows its wares or get its sizzle on.

In fact, it's in dire need of some cinematic viagra for the following two movies.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Please, if you haven't read the books do so before you write the review for the movie.

    1. How about see the movie before you write a review for the movie. We all know books and movie adaptations can very wildly.

    2. Typical ignorant fan response.

    3. Rubbish, you can't base a movie review on the book .... the movie has to stand alone.

    4. Read the book?
      I believe it says film review at the top, don't get butt hurt because this guy has reviewed the FILM adaptation of a book, it's his opinion.

  3. Patience guys; once the film is viewed the review will go up

  4. Just watch a cheap porno, its about the same lol

  5. It's a great book and I look forward to seeing the movie today. Thanks to the cunts that couldn't keep their negativity to themselves.

  6. I enjoyed it and liked Dakota Johnson's performance, she stayed true to the character in the book, keep in mind she is not trying to be sexy, she is just a virgin girl right out of college with no experience at all who thinks that sex is part of love but is getting the reality of what he is into instead, but of course the book will tell you more in detail. Also everyone has a movie in their mind when they read the books with your own characters, so for that you might like or not the actual cast in the movie, it depends on your taste, personally I though Jamie Dorman lacks that intense personality. I had other characters in mind. I will say though it has funny parts but also steamy and somehow graphic without going into X movie. Like I said I enjoyed it, it is not the best movie ever but it's entertaining. I will watch it again but maybe when it comes out on DVD. Before someone starts criticizing my review and says that I lack any sense for wanting to be beaten or worse, I like the books not because I want to be mistreated but in my mind I though for an escapism to a naughty world, not that I know anything about BDSM but like I said is my own version in my mind of what could it be.

  7. Went to the movie and I agree with the reviewer - it wasn't done well - there was no chemistry and Jamie as Christian was about as dominant as a kitten - just not convincing - absolutely loved the books but left the movie feeling like if I hadn't read the books the movie wouldn't stand alone... they left out way too many things that were important to the story and the first spaking scene in the movie was just laughable - not intense like it was in the book... I hope they do something befor Movie 2 - maybe give EL Jmes more say in the screenplay it might help get it back to the true feeling of the book...