#REVIEW: “FIFTY SHADES DARKER”
We are not afraid to admit how much we loved 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, which like its best-selling literary version proved to be a Blockbuster at the Box Office. Hence as the elevator door closed between Christian Grey and a regretful Anastasia Steele in its final frame, we since have longed deeply to see what’s next for our favourite contractually-bound couple.
Fifty Shades Darker is helmed by Director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross, At Close Range) with a script penned by Niall Leonard, husband of Series Author E.L. James. We see Christian and Anastasia reuniting after a temporary separation which saw the latter unsure of her feelings towards the handsome and v. eligible billionaire who himself is dealing with his own dark past. He returns to reconcile their differences and we see their passion flourish in the face of people from Christian‘s past standing in the way, including the damaged Leila (Bella Heathcoate) and his secret first lover, Elena (Kim Basinger). Add to the mix, Anastasia‘s new boss Jack (Eric Johnson) who is determined to get closer to Anastasia, fully aware where she stands with Christian. Is Christian and Anastasia‘s love strong enough to withstand obstacles and its own delicate complexity?
While we wanted badly to love this second installment in the Fifty Shades Trilogy, some glaring gaffes in its narrative make it a challenge to connect with. Villains are one-dimensional and enemies are made without us ever really understanding their true motives. We find our lead characters’ romance racing along at a rapid pace in an assemblage of oddly-cut sex scenes which at once while gratuitous, fail to up the intimacy we want so much to feel between Christian and Anastasia. A plane crash sequence which should be a pivotal moment, is thrown-in hastily and ill-treated as a plot device to bring our cast together. In all, despite its title promising to take us to darker places, we found this installment ‘lighter’ even with obstruction and vicious sabotage thrown from all angles.
That aside, the one silver lining through it all is the remarkable Dakota Johnson whom through all the absurdity, draws us into Anastasia‘s world of bewilderment and awe with a real sincerity. This just may be enough to keep us invested enough one more go Valentine’s Day 2018. Don’t forget to sit through the credits…
Universal Pictures Canada release FIFTY SHADES DARKER Friday, February 10, 2017.