Ben Oliver

Banner image for Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.
09 May 2015

A young lady (Dakota Johnson) gets involved in a kinky relationship with a wealthy businessman (Jamie Dornan). The two meet in a languid interview scene where nothing happens but we are told they have chemistry so that’s fine.

The performances are as good and they are going to get. I have read the source material and it’s absolutely diabolical; the fact that we aren’t laughing at every single sentence in the film is a miracle. Credit to Taylor-Wood’s steady direction here, she’s made the best of a very bad situation.

It’s ironic of course that a film all about fetishes and sex fails to be daring or provocative at all. Instead we are subjected to tiresome displays of implied sexual activity that somehow manage to leave us feeling cold and unaffected.

I had foolishly hoped that Fifty Shades of Grey might re-ignite the passion for making compelling erotic scenes in Hollywood. It’s a fine art and a joy to watch when done well (see Body Heat and Out of Sight). However the (perhaps legally enforced?) obsession with sticking to the godawful book cripples any such hope and makes a for a dull, profoundly stupid film.