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Fifty Shades of Snore

To say that Fifty Shades of Grey is a lighting rod of controversy is putting it mildly. There have been articles and counter-articles about E.L. James' best-selling novel about a young woman who begins an explicit sadomasochistic affair with a young and mysterious businessman, with some like Katie Roiphe of Newsweek criticizing the book for it's depictions of BDSM sex, and Amy Bonomi, Nicole Walton and Lauren Altenburger of the Journal of Woman's Health arguing that the author's tale of bondage and kinky sex has little to nothing to do with the sexual lifestyle and everything to do with highlighting and glorifying an abusive relationship; while others, like Sonya Sorich of the Ledger-Enquirer calling it guilty fun and escapism and Laura Barnett of The Telegraph praising James' exploration of sexual politics and her boldness to show and talk about frank sequences of sex between two consenting adults. I haven't read the book, so I'm judging the film on its own merits. Having said that? Neither the detractors of the book or it's supporters' views really ever appear in the film version, which is simply a tedious and dull affair to sit through. Like Twilight before, I understand I'm not the target demographic for this kind of thing, but would it kill the film to at least be interesting?


Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele, the girl about to graduate from Washington State. She's doing an interview of successful billionaire businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for the school paper, and the sparks fly between the two (allegedly). A series of chance encounters only add fuel to the fire of their desires for one another desire (allegedly), until  Christian shows her his version of love and lust, in the form of his "playroom", complete with flogs, whips, switches, rope, nipple clamps and anal plugs galore! Basically, that's the whole movie - they meet, they fall in love, they fuck. He takes her paragliding and helicopter rides across the Pacific Northwest, she indulges him in his kinkier fetishes. She tries to get him to open up more, he pushes her away....well, you get the idea. I should note that the film hints from the very start that Dornan's Grey has a darker nature hiding beneath the surface, and with a better actor in the part, this would have made for a more complex and compelling character. In the end, Grey's dark and sexual nature comes off as a mere plot point for the film's climax (no pun intended).


I've watched Amber Rayne strapped on all fours, getting pounded in her asshole by a machine with a dildo attached to it, whilst sucking off some guy in a gas mask. I've seen Bonnie Rotten take two huge dicks in her mouth (at the same time), get chocked out, and then have both her holes plugged. Those scenes were more erotic and hot to watch than any of the sex scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey. Hell, I'd rather watch the porno spoof featuring Rayne as Anastasia and James Deen as Christian, because I'm positive there would be more chemistry between the two adult film stars than whatever passed for "chemistry between Johnson and Dornan. And that's basically the problem: the pair don't have any chemistry together, making the film's 40 minutes of build up tedious and boring to watch. Johnson's performance is mostly bland and one-note, while Dornan is miscast as this attractive billionaire with a fetish streak a mile long and skeletons in his closet, and very good character actresses Jennifer Ehle and Marcia Gay Harden as Anastasia's mother and Christian's adopted mom respectively, simply aren't given enough to do.


The script is just as dull as the acting itself, which is a shame because Kelly Marcel did a wonderful job penning 2013's excellent Saving Mr. Banks, capturing the struggle between P.L. Travers' reluctance to hand over her rights to the book to Walt Disney. Worst of all are the sex scenes themselves. Because there's no spark between Johnson and Dornan, when they do finally get down and dirty, the scenes just fall flat instead of titillating the audience. When you silently say to yourself that you've seen hotter sex scenes on porn sites like Brazzers and Naughty America, something has gone seriously wrong. The one good thing I can say about this dull film is that the cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is really good, and it deserves better than the film it's attached to. Also, Sam-Taylor Johnson knows how to set up a scene and capture the mood and atmosphere required. She, also, deserved better than what she and McGarvey were saddled with, but those two elements can't hide dull performances, a bland script and non-existent chemistry.

* star our of ****

Comments

  1. The only emotions this movie brought me were disgust that so many rapists cite it as an inspiration, and outrage that people blame the movie for white ones, but say "he was gonna do it anyways!" for minorities. The movie itself bored me to tears.

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