The worldwide mass selling, morally vapid cultural phenomenon about a messed up abusive relationship makes the jump from ropey novel to money-spinning movie.
The plot of Fifty Shades Of Grey follows young literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), who gets to interview über successful businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
She’s attracted to him, he’s besotted with her – but rather than follow a traditional romance timeline there are some rather nasty complications to this potential relationship. Grey, you see, isn’t looking for a romantic partner, he wants a woman to control, to hurt and punish sexually in his own ‘red’ torture playroom.
Steele is rightly perturbed by Grey’s behaviour. He starts to stalk her from their first encounter and is quite willing to whisk her off in his helicopter, or show her his impressive car collection, but he won’t go on a normal date with her. His sinister coldness reinforces her reluctance to sign the freaky ‘sexual relations’ contract that sets out exactly what he can do her.
Why is he such a creepy sadist? Well he says he was a submissive in his teenage years to an older woman dominatrix. This child abusive wrongness has left him incapable of having a regular relationship.
Anastasia though is a woman with her own mind – and one who is wary of this unusual set-up. Doesn’t stop her getting to experience some grim situations though after requesting Grey to show her how bad it might get if he were allowed to punish her.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson deserves some credit for turning the terrible source material into such an average film. But this is mostly vacuous production values over substance, boasting little more than multiple sex scenes and a number one single from Ellie Goulding on the soundtrack.
Sorely lacking though are decent performances. Johnson does an acceptable job (mostly biting her bottom lip) but Dornan is totally wooden, playing every scene with the same permafrown – looking for all the world like he’s just stubbed his toe.