Thursday, 16 February 2017

Fifty Shades Darker ... Dull and deploreable

TWO years ago this month, I kicked off my blog with a review of director Sam Taylor-Johnson's forgettable Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the best-selling book of the same name by E.L. James. The film was critically ravaged, but it made tonnes of money.
   The sequel to that film is back to haunt us, or make us laugh, depending on your point of view. Director James Foley's Fifty Shades Darker, based on the book of the same name by James, continues from where the first film left off.

  They had separated in the first film, but billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) pursues literary graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), and with a few shakes of his head, and dinner at an expensive restaurant, she's back in his arms.
   The film's biggest problems are the lack of chemistry between the two stars and the unbelievable lack of tension in the film. The plot is like something from The Bold and The Beautiful (sorry for insulting the TV show), with its risible twists and unlikely scenarios.
   Why would a smart, beautiful and no-longer-virgin white woman put herself at the beck and call of a manipulative and controlling white billionaire? Money? Maybe. Brawny body? Yeah. Personality? Zilch.
   Ana's now the aide of big-headed and lecherous literary editor Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), but the film's attempt to create frisson between the two studly guys is feeble.
  And what billionaire wouldn't be worth his salt if he didn't have his ex-lovers popping in and out of his life? I'd have thought that a tycoon would have easily kept them at arm's length, but they intrude when they need to do so.
  Let's talk about sex, or the many times Ana strips to show off her smooth and silky breasts. The sex
Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) makes Ana Steele
 reach for the stars in an elevator.
scenes made me cringe. There's nothing more unappetising than seeing bad sex scenes. A scene where they went at it in a shower made me want to switch off the TV, or switch to another channel showing a documentary on global warming.
  While Christian may be cold hearted, Ana is all warmth. This film definitely belongs to her, for without her, it would have been an unmitigated disaster.
   Christian's concupiscence is supposed to be kinky, but it turns out to be soggy in an age of unbridled lust. In fact, his desires seem downright Victorian.
  His cantankerous behaviour is also a turn-off, but mild Ana accepts this flaw.
  Dornan's acting, meanwhile, is as hard as his sinewy body. It must be every woman's dream to reel in a white billionaire with a few skeletons in his closet.

1 out of 5 stars

'Chin up', Christian tells the alluring Ana.

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