50 Shades? – If only the film was that complex

Having not read the books I went to see the film and was greeted with a mess on screen. I won’t criticise any author who has had the success E.L James has made for herself but the film is confusing and suffers from a severe identity crisis.
Firstly the good. The two leads do their best with very little source material. If the book is mostly sex scenes then what you are left with is not enough to sustain a two hour running time.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson struggle to bring to life two characters who are incredibly clichéd. The chemistry between the two is good and they look to be having fun until, each scene changes like a light switch. It’s all friendly and successful rom-com stuff until the sinister switch is flicked. From there the misery of the film takes over.
The cinematography and music are both good with one scene in particular beautifully framed. The ‘business meeting’ scene is the highlight of the film with good acting, direction and humour but it too is torpedoed early with the desire to shoe-horn in the menacing sexual predator character of Grey.
Unfortunately the bad of the film is in its tone. It has no identity and can’t decide whether to be the rom-com it desperately needs to be or the psycho-sexual thriller it wants to be. Too many times we start to connect with the characters before we are jolted out of the realism by a horrible sex reference or an unrealistic act.
Finally the sex scenes are abysmal. There is a lot of skin on show but you are desperately waiting for something of shock value but all you get is a tickle with a feather. Indeed the most violent act towards the end was what many of us got when we were younger for misbehaving. Beat with a belt.
As for the ending – I didn’t realise it was time to leave until the lights come on. It simply wasn’t an ending but then it simply wasn’t a story.

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