Film Review: Fifty Shades Darker


[1/5 stars]

Watching Fifty Shades Darker is like sitting in a restaurant waiting for a date when you’re not even sure they’re going to show up.  It’s embarrassing, infuriating and soul-crushing all at the same time.

The film might as well have been a blank screen for two hours because nothing of interest happens. Continuing from the first film, we see billionaire dominatrix/stalker Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele (possibly the biggest idiot in all of fiction) getting back together and having copious amounts of “kinky” sex. Sure there’s a couple more plot points, such as past submissives getting jealous, but even if you cut them out you’d be suffering more or less the same torture.

This film, as well as the infamous Fifty Shades name, is subjected to much harsh criticism and deservedly so.  Some say it’s sexist.  Some say it glorifies abusive relationships.  Some say it misrepresents the BDSM community and some say because it’s atrociously written fanfiction of Twilight that it shouldn’t even have a place in popular culture.  These are all very much true but that’s not the biggest crime, especially with this film.  The biggest crime of all is that it’s BORING!

It is soooo boring! It’s only two hours long but it feels like five. Many factors accumulate for this excruciating effect but the most obvious is how poorly the film handles its already horrendous source material. True the writing is abhorrent, the characters are sociopaths and the chemistry between the actors is non-existent (birthday cards have expressed more love) but for a series that views itself as risqué and saucy the film is insultingly tame. The kinkiest it gets is a leg-spreader and in terms of nudity we see almost nothing, so how can this call itself a raunchy romance when it’s clearly too afraid of itself?

Essentially what we have here is a soft core porn, although to be fair porn has better pacing. It’s a series of rushed date scenes, pointless feigned melodrama that pad the film’s running time and one of the creepiest and most tedious romances ever conceived. It can’t even be enjoyed on a so-bad-it’s-good basis. It’s flimsily constructed, driven by moronic characters you despise and is so agonisingly slow it’ll leave you broken. You will leave the cinema slightly dumber – that is guaranteed.

Fifty Shades Darker was physically painful to endure.  It’s not sexy, romantic or even hilariously awful. It’s boring in every realm of the word. It’s not good cinema, it’s not good literature and it’s not good porn. It’s complete, utter shite!

[Calum Cooper]

Editor’s note: Calum’s review arrived attached to this email:

“Included is a review I’ve written for Fifty Shades Darker.  I saw it earlier today and I think it might’ve broken me. I gave it 0/5 but I don’t know if we’re allowed to go that low. If 1/5 is the lowest we’re allowed then fair enough but I honestly think it’s worth a 0.”

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