Fifty Shades of Grey: Movie Man Jackson

50stub

“You’re here because I’m incapable of leaving you alone.”

Fifty shades of one man’s psyche may exist, but they all revolve around one desire in Fifty Shades of Grey: Submission. Soon-to-be a graduate of Washington State University, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is thrust into conducting an interview one day when her roommate Kate is unable to do so. This isn’t just an interview with some mom & pop shop owner. This interview is with 27 year-old Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a powerful billionaire magnate residing in Seattle.

In 10 short minutes, Ana realizes that there is much more to this man than a handsome face. Despite her uneasy feelings, she is clearly attracted to his cool & controlled personality, and as fate would have it, Christian is drawn to her innocent and gentle persona. Naturally, the two spend more time together, which is almost always prefaced by Grey stating that romance isn’t something he’s interested in. He is a f**ker, not a lover. While Ana wants something more traditional, Christian’s tastes are more singular, darker, and fueled by a need to never lose dominance.

dakota

Akin to its lead male character’s upbringing, Fifty Shades of Gray has come from humble beginnings to get to the silver screen. The origins are simply the result of a fan known under the pen name “Snowqueen’s Icedragon” writing stories and creating a fan fiction that spawned off of the insanely popular Twilight series. Of course, Snowqueen Icedragon is none other than author E.L. James, and the rudimentary fan fiction eventually became a full-blown trilogy capturing much of the world’s attention starting in 2011. And this attention was captured whether people read the novels or not due to the BDSM content, so naturally a movie had to be made, controversy be dammed. But does the movie adaptation assert its dominance?

Yours truly has never read the books, and have little interest to do so. Like most adaptations from print to movie, I am sure that there are a few things left out. But the critical consensus of the 50 Shades series seems to be that the adult, risque content serves as a concealer, or even protection (if you will) for a lack of a truly interesting and well-written story. To be fair with the film, the early portions are fairly interesting, and overall there is some nice looking cinematography especially in the way of lighting to encompass the mood. The early moments carry enough momentum to care enough as to where things go, even if it is abundantly clear to readers and non-readers as to where the ride ends.

As this continues though, there is little drama to remain semi-hooked, and the sex scenes do little to nothing to reinvigorate interest. In a way, it feels like Taylor-Johnson and the producers expected the BDSM moments to carry all of the intrigue, but after the first, what is really there aside from whips and chains and penetration? The drama is supposed to come from whether Ana will or won’t sign the consent contract, and this is basically the rest of the movie. It is actually rendered pretty useless in honesty however, because it isn’t like the two stop all contact or sexual explorations, in fact they continue on with progressively more intensity and sado-masochistic elements. At one point, Christian even makes a point about the contract being redundant. If this was a self-referential jab at itself, nice. Didn’t come off that way though.

chrstian

There’s a feeling when watching this that the producers and director want to have their cake and eat it too. The highly mature and dark nature of the content gives the tone one expects, but just as quickly, the movie appears to try hard to be this not-exactly-bubbly but undeniably romantic flick. Even the score, which is solid in some scenes but incongruent with others, reflects this. Again, maybe it comes together more seamlessly in the novel, but it is odd to see something that resembles a teen romance in places.

Two people matter in this and everyone knows who they are. Dakota Johnson’s work here is probably the best aspect of Fifty Shades. It is easy to think that what she is asked to do isn’t a ton, but having to be so open and willing to bare oneself to a national audience requires a lot of confidence. But her nudity isn’t all her role comprises. Her performance feels very natural as it pertains to her character, curious yet fearful, “strong-ish” but weak. There is no debate to be had that she isn’t fully invested in the role.

The same can’t really be said for Jamie Dornan. Playing an American, his natural Irish accents drifts in more than it should, to the point that less attention is focused upon what he is saying and more upon how he is saying it. On the aspect of chemistry between the pair, it is mediocre at best and nonexistent at worst, but yours truly feels like the problem lies more with Dornan. I can’t shake the belief that he could have done more, gone a little further. To talk about anyone else here is wasting space, not because they are terrible, but because they really don’t matter.

kissing

To bring up the question again, does Fifty Shades of Grey assert its dominance as a compelling and sexy film? Not at all, but it isn’t a completely painful viewing. Just exercise caution if submitting to the 125 minute runtime.

Grade: D+

Photo credits go to Variety.com, beautyworldnews.com, and etonline.com

Follow the MovieMan @MovieManJackson.

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12 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey: Movie Man Jackson

  1. I was on the fence with this one; I’ll post my thoughts up later on during the week, but I enjoyed reading your review. You were spot on with some of your criticisms!

    • Thanks for the read Mr. Movie. I don’t think this is a good film, but I do think that people are just wanting to hail this as one of the worst ever just because; I was surprised at how many YouTubers seemed to go in with the sole intent of tearing it down.

      There have been many worse.

  2. Man, I can’t be assed with this one. My girlfriend is going with her friends and I’m happy as a pig in shit about that. I love sex and all, but this honestly looks like a bore. I’d rather watch Nymphomaniac…or actual porn haha.

    Glad that it wasn’t the worst thing ever though!

    • For the most part it really is a bore ThyCriticMan. I actually went to watch alone as I always do, but for a brief time I thought I would be going to this with a ladyfriend. Life happens lol.

      But I try to watch as much as I can, and at least this wasn’t completely horrid imo, just below average.

  3. The entire premise is just very sad to me, considering I’ve heard quite a bit about how Grey treats Ana/stalks her. Not a very flattering portrayal of an actual BDSM relationship because it really isn’t one, and yet, people still are obsessed with this.

    Anyway, I’ll always think of Dakota Johnson as Kate from Ben and Kate. Great review!

    • I never read the book, but Grey did come off as a monster when he kept on appearing at her doorstep or bar! But not everything was bad. Thanks for the read Polarbears.

  4. Pingback: Movie Man Jackson looks at: 2015 Music in Movies (Part 1) | MovieManJackson

  5. Pingback: Fifty Shades Darker: Movie Man Jackson – MMJ

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