Viewed – 16 July 2017 Netflix
I was never going to actually watch this. The largely negative media backlash to the books and the movies themselves were enough to put me off. However I’m also someone who feels every movie should be given a day in court. So with admittedly low expectations I sat down to watch this hyped, supposedly ‘erotic’ drama.
Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) unwittingly finds herself smitten by the swarve business tycoon Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) after quite literally stumbling into an interview on behalf of her flatmate. It’s a corny introduction but fun all the same and I got distinct Bridget Jones meets Patrick Bateman vibes, what with this suited mystery man hiding a dark side and Anastasia’s never-been-kissed girl next door persona. Now there’s a movie I’d love to see. Anyway back to this one and I’ll admit I found myself enjoying the subtle chemistry and battle of wits between these two characters. Grey wanting Anastasia to become his submissive, revealing to her fairly quickly his other life, that of a dominant who likes to spank, whip and control the one he is involved with. He lays it all out and I certainly enjoyed watching Anastasia slowly transform into someone she never knew she could be. That being said, some dodgy dialogue (“Necrophilia isn’t my thing” – in reference to Grey touching Anastasia whilst she was sleeping? Does the writer not know what necrophilia is?) and an ending that came off as ‘so what were you expecting?’ this ultimately promised more than it delivers and keeps events fairly light and safe rather than go as dark and intense as it should have. We do get plenty of nudity, a couple of diverting, stylishly-filmed sex scenes that are probably only really sexy if s&m is your-thang (and if is, you’re probably into stuff more daring than what we see here). However if like me you find Dakota Johnson appealing, have a thing for Jamie Dornan or ever enjoyed those late night ‘naughty’ movies … this may still press your buttons.
It’s over-long and a takes itself too seriously (in need of that black humour that worked so well in the similarly themed ‘Secretary’) but is certainly not as awful as I’d heard. However it’s no erotic masterpiece either. Yet on this evidence, I’d still like to see the follow-up.
Verdict: 3 /5