Fifty Shades Of Grey (Cert 18)
Now on at City Screen, Reel York and Vue York
2 hr 5 mins
Fifty Shades Of Grey is a sadly staid affair that feels like a mash up between Twilight and Pretty Woman.
Non-Martians know the drill. Journalist Anastasia Steele – played by a wide eyed and rosy cheeked Dakota Johnson, a relative unknown – crosses paths with young, damaged billionaire Christian Grey, played by an enigmatic and brooding Jamie Dorman.
They enter a tumultuous relationship full of whips (but no chains), and Ana struggles with the idea of a submission while Christian fights his dark past.
The problem with Fifty Shades is there isn’t really 50, there’s one. What should be as hot as tabasco is as mild as English mustard. Less tantalising and more titillating, we see a disappointing lack of male nudity but plenty of Dakota Johnson to fill in the gaps.
I wouldn’t say it’s a bad film – or a bad adaptation. In parts it is pretty faithful to the book, the script pulling in some original EL James quotes.
But so many of the sex scenes are omitted, and supporting characters two dimensional, that it never gets close to emulating the edgy nature of the source material.
Johnson and Dorman are both excellent, considering they represent the entire franchise. Dorman is charming and eloquent as Grey, complementing Johnson’s expressive and sweet Miss Steele nicely.
Perhaps the supporting cast will make an impression in the inevitable sequel, but here nobody really stands out – except maybe the vivacious Katharine Kavanaugh played by Eloise Mumford.
The cinematography is pleasant, flows well and Christian’s apartment is as impressive on screen as it appears on paper. The sex scenes aren’t bad, and are treated with respect by director Sam Taylor-Johnson – there’s even a glimpse of male pubic hair (oh my!) but that’s about as shocking as it gets.
If you’ve read the books you’ll be unsurprised and probably left wanting more, never being fully satiated. If you haven’t, you may well be a little shaken up, but probably not enough to tempt you try a bit of flogging in the bedroom.
On nipple count Fifty Shades is on a par with Game Of Thrones. If only it were as much fun.