FILM REVIEW: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (18)
SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
SOUTH HOLLAND CENTRE, MARCH 6-12
CAST: JAMIE DORNAN, DAKOTA JOHNSON, JENNIFER EHLE, ELOISE MUMFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MAX MARTINI, LUKE GRIMES, VICTOR RASUK & RITA ORA
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 5 MINS
DIRECTORS: SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON
Someone who has never read the book – but has heard the hype – our resident film critic Gavin Miller gives you his view on one of the year’s most-anticipated movies...
Fifty Shades of Grey – like the title – leaves you with multiple thoughts of different shades that leaves your view of this sadomasochistic-tinged romantic-drama in a grey area.
The over-riding factor is that it’s overall ‘more enjoyable than expected’ – with its fair share of laughs and intriguing scenes – but you are left scratching your head with a ‘so what was all the hype about?’ moment.
Being rest-assured (by my partner) that it was never just about the ‘sexual escapades’ and actually gets more intense with the next books – and inevitable film sequels after it took $250m worldwide on its opening weekend – then this is intriguing enough to leave you hankering for more.
A bit like what the Twilight Saga was to the teen market: extremely wooden, sometimes poorly dialogued – but you still invested enough in the amiable characters to want to see it through until the final film.
And Fifty Shades IS extremely wooden, and poorly dialogued. Apparently the script is kept close to EL James’ uber-successful novel – much to the chagrin of hampered director Sam Taylor-Johnson – which will probably make fans of the book happy, but is probably a bit too clichéd for your casual cinema fan.
If you’ve been stuck behind a rock and don’t know the story, Fifty Shades sees timid literature student Anastasia Steele interview the wealthy billionaire Christian Grey – a handsome, brilliant, but intimidating individual – and finds herself wanting to get close to the man who seemingly has everything when he shows an intense interest in her.
But the naïve Steele soon realises the tormented Grey is consumed by the need to control everything – and wants to open her up to his singular kinky and sadomasochistic sexual tastes that will test their relationship to the full. And while these exploits – which to be honest have been done across film mediums before and aren’t as head-turning as some may have expected – may give the uninitiated the wrong idea about what the film is about, it is still actually just a romance at heart.
If you get past the all-round fairly shoddily-executed production, the movie is simply made interesting by wanting to find out more about why the tormented soul that is Christian Grey is so, erm, messed up.
If you’re not expecting too much, then the amiable leads, few decent laugh-out-loud laughs, kinky sex scenes (if that’s your bag), and the need to find out more – then Fifty Shades just about whips up a passable cinema-going experience.
Just don’t expect too much beyond that.
Gavin’s fiancee, Clare Barnett – who has read the book – gives a fan’s take on the film, comparing it like-for-like with the novel...
I first read Fifty Shades of Grey in 2012. Initially I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon but my curiosity got the better of me.
To start with the book was slow and was actually so raunchy that too much sex detracted from the story – but I’m really glad I persevered.
I soon realised Christian Grey isn’t some control freak – abusing his position as billionaire CEO – but a very troubled, young man with a past and I wanted to know more. So I raced through the rest of the book and finished the trilogy at breakneck speed, with the books getting better and better as they went on.
Yes the storyline is a bit weak, but I loved Anastasia’s innocence, naivety and how awkward she was. And I loved Christian. He’s messed up and I wanted to know why – and I wanted to fix him.
So when I sat in Showcase on Valentine’s Night waiting for the film to start I was excited – not just for the first film, but to see the beginning of the whole franchise. The film was humorous in places, sexy and good fun. It leaves quite a lot out from the book but the storyline doesn’t suffer.
In fact I found the film more alluring and captivating. Johnson and Dornan are perfectly cast as the couple, and although we see more of Johnson in the first film (in more ways then one) she’s funny and brings a more resilient Ana than in the books.
Dornan seems inexpressive and cold in places, but this is Mr Grey and we have to wait for the next films to learn his story and see him grow. The script is pretty average, but in places is word-for-word from the book, which again reminds you that the best is yet to come. Let’s put it this way, there were groans from the near-full cinema when the film ended – obviously wanting more.
* My advice, if you’re a fan of the books you’ll absolutely love it, if you’ve never read the books go into the film with an open mind . . . it’s definitely worth a go!