Fifty Shades Of Grey: The BRWC Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Fifty Shades Of Grey: The BRWC Review

By Josh Horwood.

Directed by Sam Taylor – Johnson, 125mins, out on 13th February 2015

The much talked about adaptation of “mummy-porn” bestseller 50 Shades of Grey is finally here; E. L. James’ Twilight fan fiction hits the big screen after a flurry of blanket marketing, feminist attacks and countless column inches dedicated to it.

The story, although you probably already know what it’s about, is of Anastasia Steele’s sexual awakening at the hands of mysterious businessman Christian Grey.  She is a virgin and English Literature student in her final year.  He is a high-flying, highly successful and highly controlled executive of his own company with (you guessed it) a dark past… Ana’s world changes when she falls in to an interview with Grey and is pulled in to a world of floggers, whips, ropes and submissive contracts at his dominant hands.

Reports from set tell us that Taylor–Johnson and scriptwriter Kelly Marcel tried to iron out James’ pig eared dialogue but were overruled by the multimillion-selling author.  I feel sorry that Marcel has to put her name to a movie in which the dialogue is earsplittingly painful.  A moment, in which Grey bites a piece of toast, is ludicrous and the line: “I don’t make love.  I fuck.  Hard.” prompted gales of laughter from the audience.  This is troubling as I saw this movie with its target audience; if they are openly ridiculing it, it clearly can’t be all that convincing.  The movie is technically soulless, with bland shots of clouds and skyscrapers introducing almost every scene.  There is only one visual gag that lands: Steele holds a symbolically phallic pencil with the Grey company logo on it to her lips.

Dakota Johnson is fine as nervous and curious Steele.  Dornan is, frankly, as interesting as long division but that’s not really his fault, he isn’t given that much to work with.  Rita Ora’s much talked about appearance barely registers, a friend actually pointed her out to me at the end.  The movie itself is interesting for the first half an hour; despite the problems of the dialogue, there is a palpable chemistry that caught me off guard.  A drunken phone call to Grey is humorously well realised and I began to wonder whether the movie might actually be rather good.  This lasted until the first sex scene.  Things after that become incredibly mechanical, almost as though everyone involved had sobered up to what they were doing and were incredibly embarrassed.  The sex scenes are about as erotic as watching a pensioner trying to work out how to use online banking.  The film never manages to get past the fact that Grey’s romantic gestures are actually very creepy and verge on stalking.

The movie then is a failure.  Helmed creatively by three women, it had the opportunity to say something about gender politics.  Instead, we’re bashed over the head by bland and raw dialogue, embarrassed performances and even more soulless sex.  I’d love for the movie to have had fifty shades but it unfortunately only has one: monotonous.  The soundtrack isn’t all that bad though.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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