“50 Shades of F**ked up”, as the main character Christian Grey describes himself at one point in the film, pretty much sums it up from beginning to end. For those of you who have spent the last few years living under a rock, the film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by E. L. James, 50 Shades of Grey.
To put it mildly, the big screen version is nothing more than soft-core pornography. Its running time (2 hours 5 minutes) is absurdly long given the film’s distinct lack of plot and doesn’t make any real effort to build the characters. It is not clear – given the poor script that they have to work with – whether the actor’s themselves are at fault for this completely stilted dialogue or whether they did the best they could with the lines that they were presented with, but there was very little chemistry between Jamie Dornan (Christian) and Dakota Johnson (Anastasia) aside from the physical, that is.
Anastasia Steele (the submissive as she’s known in Grey’s fantasy world of BDSM) first meets Christian when she is tasked with interviewing the young rich businessman for the university newspaper in the place her ill flatmate. From the get-go, the ridiculousness of it all is clear as Miss Steele (as Christian insists on calling her) is a clearly attractive woman who has evidently been made to look plain and boring through her clothes and behaviour in a poor attempt to develop the character later on.
How this chauvinistic, domineering, predator of a character can be considered the fantasy of so many women around the world is beyond me. Whilst the on-screen portrayal of Mr Grey may be somewhat easy on the eye and is a millionaire, he doesn’t seem to have much going for him in terms of charm and allure. The “pièce de résistance” was what Christian referred to as his “games room” which looked more like a lair or a torture chamber but he assured her that it was “made to give both of us pleasure”. The final nail in the coffin of any possibility of ‘romance’ was hammered in with the line from Christian, “I don’t make love, I f**k” a statement sure to make any woman weak at the knees.
Things then come to a very abrupt – yet not untimely – halt when the millionaire decides that the English Literature major needs to be ‘punished’ and takes things too far with his physical abuse which is nothing more than domestic violence dressed up as erotica.
All in all, despite being nicely shot (which you would expect given its $40 million budget and the views looking out over Seattle) the film is sure to be a complete flop this February leaving viewers thoroughly unsatisfied. 50 Shades the novel resulted in a trilogy of books much like the Twilight Saga, and no doubt we will be made to endure 2 or three further films with the sequel already in the pipeline for release in 2016. This, however, is a film that the makers of Twilight would be ashamed to call their own and should have remained a fantasy in the heads of women all around the world.