Runtime: 125 min
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
I decided to go and see Fifty Shades of Grey, mainly out of respect for and interest in it as a cultural phenomenon. It’s based on the novel of the same name, written by British author E. L. James.
It should be obvious to anyone that it’s geared towards a female audience. As I watched the film I became immersed in what felt like female psychology. The theatre was packed, almost entirely with women. I counted just one other guy in there other than me. I could hear reactions to key moments in various scenes but I just couldn’t fully fathom what all the fuss was about. Clearly, E. L. James and the makers of the film know what they’re doing! I was impressed. Fifty Shades stars Jamie Dornan as the male lead, Christian Grey. Jamie used to be a model 10 years ago and previously his main claim to fame was having dated Keira Knightley as, a then, unknown. He has since then gone into acting and will now surely become a household name. Dakota Johnson plays the female lead, Anastasia Steele. Up until now, I hadn’t heard of her, and when I first saw her on screen, I wasn’t sure she was the right woman for the part, as she looked quite plain. It wasn’t long before I could see why she was chosen for the role. She was able to display her passionate feelings for Christian Grey right down to the subtlest of nuances in expression. She’s an emoting force to be reckoned with. The film has a sexual theme with some heated scenes but it’s all done as tastefully as possible. As Christian Grey is into domination and sadism, we are introduced to his special ‘play room’ full of items he uses on the women he manages to lure into his sexual fantasies he likes to play out. I braced myself for some disturbing scenes but there weren’t any. It was all done very softcore, much like The Red Shoe Diaries, a TV show I used to see come on late at night in the 90s, starring David Duchovny (the actor that played Fox Mulder in The X-Files and Hank in Californication). Rita Ora makes a very brief appearance. I was actually looking forward to seeing her but was left a bit disappointed as she played such a minimal part. It looks like Hollywood is testing the water with her. I believe she is theatre trained and therefore is a good bet as an actress as well as a pop singer. She’s very well known in the UK music scene and has had some big hits. Fifty Shades has a special soundtrack that features Beyonce singing a new rendition of her hit song, ‘Crazy In Love‘. The film is visually stunning without over-stating the fact. Being adapted from the first part of a trilogy, we can expect two more sequels to come.
Reviewed by Alistair Martin