Date Released: 10th February 2017
Date Seen: 1st November 2017
In the late 80’s a film called 9 1/2 Weeks introduced the concept of the erotic thriller to the world of cinema, a subgenre of movies that would go on to be a large portion of the next decade with films like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction and Showgirls all making their mark in their own unique way, be it good or bad. Fifty Shades Darker would desperately like you to think it deserves to be put in the same class as those movies… Fifty Shades Darker is delusional about this desire.
Before I start, some quick little bits of disclosure I feel is important to understand my viewpoint on this movie.
- I have not read the books, nor do I ever intend to read them
- I have not seen the original film in this series, nor do I ever intend to watch it
- I am only watching this specific film because I made a promise to myself that I would try and see every major film released this year, this happened to be one of them.
- I watched the extended cut that’s available on DVD, a DVD I borrowed from a local library and did not pay for… I still feel slightly ripped off.
Did you get all that? Good, cos even with all those I feel pretty confident when I state that Fifty Shades Darker is a boring movie that doesn’t understand BDSM, Sex, Eroticism, Helicopter Crashes, Marriage Proposals or how crazy people work. Fifty Shades Darker does not understand humanity and thus does not understand how specifically to make something interesting, even though it really want’s you to like it.
Fifty Shades Darker would love you to enjoy it, it really would. It want’s you to look into the wide deer-like eyes of Dakota Johnson and understand her character’s motivation and while that is doable, it is only because Dakota Johnson is a good actress who somehow took the lump of wood she was given as a character and carved something reasonably likable that also was a complete idiot. I hate to call a woman who is clearly in an unhealthy relationship an idiot, but when the character is fictional and created with the intention of being an erotic lead that the audience should identify with I feel it’s OK to call that person an idiot.
Fifty Shades Darker would love you to look at Jamie Dornan and forget that his best asset is “Abs and Pecs” and pretend that he is an enjoyable lead that is full of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent… sorry to disillusion the movie but Jamie Dornan is there because he is pretty, he has no other purpose in this film. If he had eaten a cheeseburger and didn’t have such a firm body, you would not even give a rats arse what he was doing. Indeed you would probably be more able to see that this character is an emotionally manipulative sociopath who literally stalks Ana to the point where I am certain that he is just tracking her phone or inserted some kind of device inside her vagina in order to follow her as she goes to get coffee. It’s the best explanation I’ve got unless I just admit that the movie is a poorly written piece of derivative excrement created by people who do not understand how reality works. And even if we put aside his stalkerish tendencies, he’s just a charmless asshole who really has nothing interesting other than his pecs and abs. It’s been said before but it’s painfully true, if he were not a rich handsome white man he would not get away with half the things that he pulls in this film.
Fifty Shades Darker would absolutely love you to become invested in its story… I’m not sure which story because it can’t decide which one to tell. Are we telling the story of how Christian Grey has realized that his BDSM lifestyle might cost him the woman he loves and so tries to give that up for her but it’s OK because she’s totally into it now for no reason? Are we telling the story of a past conquest of Christian’s who has obviously lost her mind and decides to track Ana down and kill her? Are we telling the story of how Christian must come to terms with his relationship with the woman who introduced him to sex (Played by Kim Basinger who was in 9 1/2 weeks… so she should know what a good erotic movie is)? Are we telling the story of Christian’s helicopter crash? Of Ana and Christian’s engagement? Ana’s boss trying to rape her? Pick a story, all I’m asking. You can have subplots by all means but for god sakes pick a main plotline and stick with it, expand on it, make me invested.
This movie has a major problem in that it tries to tell too many stories and doesn’t do any of them well. The story about the girl from Christian’s past coming to try and kill Ana? 5 minutes long, it’s barely even a thing. The Basinger plotline? 2 scenes, 5 minutes total, barely even a factor. The helicopter crash? He literally walks in, perfectly fine, while the report about the crash on the news is playing. I got a worse injury when I was accidentally hit with a golf club, meanwhile Christian crashed a helicopter in the middle of nowhere and barely has a paper cut. The rape story might be a factor in the sequel, I don’t know or care honestly. It’s just so half done… hell, not even half done, they don’t even really try to address the serious topics they’re raising. They just bring them up, then move on.
As for the sex scenes, which are the main draw of this franchise… they’re boring. Out of the 5 sex scenes, Christian’s pants stay on for 4 of them. Think about that for a second. The sex scenes in a BDSM romance film that basically revolves around this concept never even get to the point where both characters are fully undressed until the very last scene and it’s just irritating because meanwhile Dakota is tied and blindfolded and just a piece of meat. It doesn’t even feel like either one really gets’s what they’re doing. You’d have to ask someone who actually understands BDSM to know if they’re doing it right but the fact that Christian just admits to being a sadist instead of a dominant along with the fact that Ana has to explain communication to him… that leads me to think that they do not understand what they are involved in which is not healthy. None of this is healthy or erotic or even interesting. How do you make a BDSM erotic drama boring? I don’t know, but Fifty Shades Darker found a way.
It’s not even bad enough to be funny, it’s not good enough to be entertaining, it’s not interesting enough to be worth your time. Just go to Pornhub and look up some bondage porn, it will be more entertaining and contain more passion and enjoyment than anything you will find in this 2-hour long sleep-aid of a film