#REVIEW: “50 SHADES OF GREY”
Believe the hype. Fifty Shades of Grey was destined to be a calculated success from the start, everything from its perfect choice of Director in Sam Taylor-Johnson, down to its deliberately-hushed marketing and Valentine’s Day release, effectively scaring away its competition from a same slot release. I will start by saying I have yet to turn a page in the sensual Trilogy’s literary incarnation, but that in no way hindered my sheer enjoyment of the first in what surely will be a massive Film Franchise.
The Story centers on the nervous and bookish Anastasia Steele, about ready to graduate college when one fateful day she is asked to interview attractive, young Billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) on behalf of her ill Roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) for a school publication. Despite the interview being a massive fail, the two strike an instant connection and what ensues is Christian’s relentless pursuit of Anastasia, which she of course doesn’t mind. Things take a dramatic turn when a guarded Christian opens-up a world unknown to virginal Anastasia. He has ‘singular tastes’, involving BDSM which at once is terrifying to Anastasia, piques her curiosity. Anastasia finds great challenge getting Christian to let her in, while Christian is set on being the Man he knows himself to be trying to convince Anastasia to sign a contract binding her to him as his Submissive and he as her Dominant. All is not always easy in love and we witness both Christian and Anastasia change one another, confusing matters between them. One thing is certain – they cannot do without the other.
Taylor-Johnson gets the highest praise for translating what well could have resulted in a Smutfest in lesser hands. Her delicate and tasteful interpretation of E.L. James‘ work focuses on the emotional torment between and within our sexually-adventurous Hero and Heroine. Sex serves a purpose in exploring the power dynamic between Christian and Anastasia‘s complex relationship. Dakota Johnson is phenomenal as Anastasia, transforming from timid to in many ways more self-assured in her Sexual Awakening. She breathes life into Anastasia, crafting an identifiable young Woman, delivering wit in cynicism at some of the Story’s more unbelievably fantastical elements. Although the impossibly-alluring and maybe too brooding Jamie Dornan is more than capable in the Film’s Titular Role, it becomes apparent that they had it right the first time around in terms of casting – Charlie Hunnam in our opinion possesses a stronger command of the screen and might have been a better fit.
Musical Direction is perfect here with several moody new contributions from the hottest names in Pop Music including Sia, Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd and although not new material, Beyoncé‘s new take on Crazy in Love and a new Mix of Haunted pair beautifully with the scenes.
There are a few gaffes in Character Development – we literally could count on our fingers how many lines or words some key Supporting Characters had – and tonally there are problems in some more nuanced moments involving out-of-place dancing and piano playing. We pretty much are sold and satiated by this Film Adaption, which we hear, like its literary version, cruelly has us at a Cliffhanger by Story’s end.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is ‘bound’ to please its legions of adoring female Fans.. and just might gain a few male ones too! Universal Pictures Canada release on Thursday, February 12, 2015.