Fifty Shades of Grey – DVD Review

Fifty Shades

For those of you whose Dom doesn’t permit you to keep up to date with popular culture allow me to introduce you to a literary adaption that has caused more fuss than it has any right to. Fifty Shades of Grey is an aspiring erotic romantic drama in which the virginal student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and handsome young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) meet, fall madly in love, and negotiate a contract which would make Anastasia the Submissive to Christian’s Dominant. All Anastasia wants is to fall madly in love but Christian would rather just buy her nice gifts in exchange for tying her up and rubbing her down. So to speak.

Can they make it work? Is Christian emotionally stable? Is Anastasia making good life choices? The film answers very little of these questions as the film circles its quite basic plot. For all the fuss created about E.L. James’ original novel and this adaptation not much actually goes on. After their initial meeting Steele and Grey have sex a few times in between trying to convince each other to pursue wildly different relationships and then the film just ends.

From a romantic point of view the film failed to give any reason why I should want the lead pair to get together. Were either of them a friend I would advise them to move on and find someone new. Anastasia’s personality begins and ends with liking books and wanting to make love while Christian likes playing piano topless and, look away now sensitive folks, fisting. Their interactions outside of the bedroom/red-room-of-pain don’t demonstrate enough chemistry to convince that they are actually in love, lust, or even in the same book group.

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When it comes to the erotic element of the film it is a bit hit and miss. Some of the sex scenes do succeed in actually being sexy but then the film suddenly descends into sweeping camera moves and slow fade transitions that leave the sex, after all that fuss, a little pedestrian. Considering the raunchy nature of what we see on TV and online (I’m talking Netflix not actual porn) week in week out Fifty Shades of Grey actually felt a little tame which was not what I was expecting.

We all know the film is the result of infighting between E. L. James and director Sam Taylor-Johnson. That lack of creative freedom and singular coherent vision has resulted in a film that isn’t really anything in particular. The film didn’t feel particularly romantic, erotic, nor dramatic. It wasn’t even a total disaster so isn’t worth hate-watching. Overall Fifty Shades of Grey is boring and bland; a sanitised story of love and lust that fails to excite.

For anyone seeking a romantic erotic story of a woman embracing a sadomasochistic relationship please watch Secretary, and to see a damaged man overindulge in sex let me recommend Shame. Both will show you what Fifty Shades of Grey could have been if it had the ambition.

Fifty Shades of Grey is out on DVD and Blu-ray should you need to see it for yourself. (So are Secretary and Shame.)

NOTE: The DVD I was sent included the “Unseen” version of the film with roughly three minutes extra footage. Sadly no special features were available for reviewing but the various sets do have extra footage/documentaries should you need more content when you’re done.

Actors Selected to Perform Kinky Sex for Your Amusement

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As a recent expert on the casting of the Fifty Shades of Grey film (pause for laughter) I thought it was only fitting that I bring you the news (a day late) about the actors who have actually been hired to show you their genitals in what is sure to be a sensitive and artistically valid feature film adaptation of the book series that has been titillating readers for only two years now.

Author of the books and all round smut-peddler E L James revealed the on Twitter that the role of Christian Grey will be played by Charlie Hunnam and Anastasia Steele is to be portrayed by Dakota Johnson. But who are this sexy pair? Looking at the image above we can see that they are an attractive pair but what else?

Charlie Hunnam is a male man (not a mail man) from England who has been in a variety of things I have failed to see including Queer as Folk, Undeclared, Sons of Anarchy, and Pacific Rim. He also played the title role in a 2002 version of Nicholas Nickleby which for some reason also starred Anne Hathaway. From what I can tell Hunnam is a good egg, can actually act, AND has the all important buff bod we need here.

Dakota Johnson is a female woman from America. She is made from the combination of Melanie Griffith’s egg and Don Johnson’s sperm and has Antonio Banderas as a step-dad and Tippi Hedron as a grandmother. The only acting I have seen her do is during a brief cameo of the final episode of the American version of The Office but hopefully some of her relatives’ talents have rubbed off on her*. She was also Kate in the sitcom Ben and Kate but I have no proof that show ever existed. A Google image search reveals her to be blonde, slim, and attractive** so no one will object too much to seeing her trussed up and naked.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself “do I care who is in this film?” and “surely it’s for the best that Felicity Jones stays far away”. The answers are likely to be “no” and “you’re right, she’s better than this”. The fact that they seem to be casting proper actors with greater assets than those they keep in their underwear, combined with choosing a proper director in the form of Sam Taylor-Wood seems to suggest that they are trying to make a decent film out of a book that sounds like dirge***. Whether they can or not remains to be seen.

Do it right and they could make Shame, do it wrong and they’ve made Shameless Boytoys. Either the way people will watch either out of love for the source material, morbid curiosity, or simply to get themselves off.

* Before Charlie Hunnam does (snigger)
** A triple threat known as “trouble”
***Having not read the books I cannot wholeheartedly condemn or promote them