2015; directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson; adapted by Kelly Marcel; 125 mins
This is a review of mine that was first printed in The Critic.
When student Anastasia Steele improbably interviews icy billionaire Christian Grey, she finds herself as trapped as we are in a downward spiral of kinky sex and utter tediousness. Fair play to Dakota Johnson – she’s a shining beacon of light and likeability amidst this utter dross. Unfortunately, even she is hamstrung by a character so badly written, her character arc is like watching someone picking petals off of a flower, chanting “he loves me, he loves me not [ad nauseum]”. Also, why has this popular, attractive, out-going young woman never had sex? How does she not know what butt plugs are? She’s at university! Jamie Dornan is a lost cause playing the most unlikeable movie protagonist since…? Hitler in Triumph of the Will? Why do we care about Christian Grey? Comfortably the most over- exposed twat in the whole movie, a man who can blithely compare his own hankering for a pervy sex weekend with the starving millions in Africa! This is where the film goes from comfortably boring melodrama about pretty people in dull apartments to actively offensive and an endorsement of violent revolution. His inevitable tacked on emotional scarring makes no sense and comes far too late in the day when we’ve just given up on this petulant oligarch. Isn’t the sex meant to be amazing aswell? Isn’t it meant to provoke our desires and look like the ultimate in erotic experimentation? If foreplay were allowed to be that quick and effortless then fellas – do it in the kitchen, you can boil an egg in the meantime! The sex can only work if we’re engaged with the characters and their relationship and we’re just not! On a similar note – the male/female nudity ratio is so out of whack (Generic Nob Gag, No. 123) that it becomes ridiculuous. Seemingly, Christian Grey hasn’t got a penis – aside from being one. As usual, filmmakers get prudish over the traditional cock ‘n’ balls combo and the girl has to do all the work. Grow-up, people. With a colour palette thought up by a five year-old and plodding pacing into the mix – don’t bother.