Fifty Shades of Grey directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson:
I never thought I would say this but the best part of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s (Nowhere Boy) is the sex. That is because the rest of it – meaning the plot – is as bad as anything you would find in the porn world. In all honesty though no one has come to see this film for the story. Though if you are coming to see this expecting some really rough sex you too will be disappointed as most of the stuff is quite tame and the rougher stuff happens off screen. It is a rather tame depiction of BDSM.
Model turned actor Jamie Dornan has proven his talent in the BBC series The Fall, in which he plays a serial killer with women issues. Fifty Shades of Grey is a step back for him actingwise. I am not ready to say whether it was his fault or the lack of meat in the character. It is a rather shallow character so I am leaning that way. All the role really asks of him is to look hot and he does a better job of that playing a serial killer.
As a feminist (stop rolling your eyes now!) I’m totally thankful that they removed a lot of the more annoying characteristics of the Ana character that appear in the E.L. James’ penned novel. Plus she does not say half of the ridiculous things that come out her mouth in the book. Wisely screenwriter Kelly Marcel (wrote screenplay for Saving Mr. Banks) has eliminated most of the clunkiest of James’ dialogue. Dakota Johnson even inserts a couple of moments of strength in the character. Enough to make you long for a film in which this was a contest between equals. That would make it all that much more hotter, no? If I had to vote for an MVP from the film it would be Dakota Johnson. She was better than I expected, looked great and tries her best to make this rubbish watchable.
As a favour to her sick roommate Kate (played by Eloise Mumford) literature student Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) agrees to go and interview wealthy businessman Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan). While interviewing him Anastasia discovers that the man is handsome and brilliant but also intimidating.
Though she is a little frightened of him the less experienced and a little naïve Ana finds herself drawn to Christian. This despite the fact that he is not very forthcoming or encouraging during the interview. She is drawn like a moth to a flame. Christian is also attracted to the beautiful and vulnerable young woman. Of course, because of the type of man he is this relationship is going to unfold on Christian’s terms. He is a man who needs to be in control of every aspect of his life including his sex live. A contract is negotiated and a dominant-submissive relationship begins.
Bottom line is that watching this is pretty much a soul stealing proposition. If you are looking for a film with hot sex scenes I recommend you check out Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac or even the recent French film, Blue is the Warmest Color. The film is better than the book but that is not saying much is it. Prepare yourself for more of this schlock because the other two books in the series are going to be made into films as well…sigh.
Fifty Shades Darker directed by James Foley:
Part deux of the Fifty Shades saga carries on the tradition of the first. Unfortunately for film goers the first film was a stinker and Darker follows along that well worn path. Much about this film is similar to the first in that the leads have little chemistry (which pretty much equals death in a film like this), the director (James Foley) lacks vision or originality, Dakota Johnson does a better job than Jamie Dornan and the story is rather weak.
After the first film was found to be wanting the minds behind it decided not to engage director Sam Taylor-Johnson to helm the second. James Foley of House of Cards, Glengarry Glen Ross and Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” fame came on board. I guess they thought he could right the ship. Instead he struggles just as mightily as Taylor-Johnson did. Here’s an idea maybe it is the source material. Schlock produces schlock evidently.
Anastasia (played by Dakota Johnson) has decided that a relationship (and her understanding of what that means) is not possible with Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan), so she has moved on. Working now at a publishing house she seems to be getting on with her life.
Suddenly Christian is back in the picture and her life. He claims he is madly in love with her. She is not able to resist the billionaire. The battle for control over life and love begins.
Even in the bedroom things change as Anastasia asserts herself and tells Christian she is not longer willing to succumb to him. Anastasia now wants to call the shots. Complicating things even further are a trio of new characters – Anastasia’s boss (played by Eric Johnson), one of Christian’s former submissives (played by Bella Heathcote) and the older woman who made Christian the way he is, Elena Lincoln (played by Kim Basinger).
This is supposed to be a sexy film and rather is eerily devoid of emotion. So much so that you find yourself neither drawn to nor caring about either of the characters. I know, as the title of the film indicates, that this is supposed to be Darker. but really? In actuality, they could have been more successful marketing this as a comedy because there are plenty of laugh out loud moments. Not that they intended these scenes to be funny.
The final film (phew!) in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Free, is due to be released in 2018. Then you won’t have to debate going to see any more nor will I have to struggle to find some redeeming qualities about it to write about. Let the countdown begin!
- A Darker Direction
- New Threats
- The Masquerade
- Intimate With Darker
- Deleted Scenes
- A Tease to Fifty Shades Freed
- Writing Darker
- Dark Reunion
- E L James & Fifty Shades
-The World of Fifty Shades of Grey: Christian Grey and Ana
-Behind the Shades
-The World of Fifty Shades of Grey: Friends & Family