In the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Christian Grey tells his girlfriend and BDSM submissive Anastasia Steele that for rolling her eyes at him he will have to punish her, in this case by spanking her.
Well, if Grey were able to watch my eyes while I forced myself to sit through “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I do not think I would ever sit again, but I think I would take the punishment if it meant I could forget the film.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is without a doubt one of the most painful viewing experiences I have ever had in a movie theater.
Never before I have I seen such a horrific combination of bad filmmaking. From the laughable dialogue to the shallow one-note characters and muddled plot, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a nonstop cinematic disaster.
From the onset, the film does away with any pretense that it serves as more than fantasy fodder, although who fantasizes about this type of shallow relationship I’m not sure.
The film starts with the protagonist, Steele, meeting Grey at his office for an interview where she is filling in her for her sick journalist roommate. Though they have zero chemistry and the interview is mind-numbingly terrible, Grey starts to become enamored by Steele.
From this terribly disjointed and heavy-handed beginning, their romance becomes even more baffling as they constantly fight just to make up and then segue into the next sex scene.
For a movie centered on two people and their romance, “Fifty Shades of Grey” forgets to make these people or their relationship interesting or worth following.
Out of the two, Steele has a little more personality. While she is the stereotypical mousy, compliant virgin, she actually seems vulnerable and moderately realistic; but still, she has no backstory and all of her relationships with other characters are so shallow that it is completely laughable.
Grey on the other hand is entirely one-dimensional. He’s a suave and mysterious millionaire badboy that is into sexual deviance; yet he’s got a troubled past and an inner sensitivity, or at least that is the way he’s supposed to appear to the viewer. This would work if he were given any semblance of a personality or if his typically troubled past background was not the most corny and ridiculous part of the film.
In addition to the paper-thin characters, there is no character development throughout the entire film and a middle school student could have written more believable dialogue.
The film also fails to adhere to general principles of filmmaking.
One of the most glaring instances of this is how the film would change its mood from lighthearted to serious without any real cause, the only cue being a change in music. If the only clue to the viewer that this scene is serious is a shift in music, that’s a pretty big red flag that something is not working to deliver the emotional impact you intended.
There’s still a laundry list of problems that I could address, like how Grey is disgustingly controlling or how the film could be cut in half and still accomplish just as little as it did in the two hours of my life it wasted or how much I hated the clichéd open-ended ending that resolved nothing and drove home the fact that I wasted two hours of my life, but there’s only so much space to write in.
If there’s one positive thing in this film, it’s that it looks good. It looks like a big Hollywood blockbuster, and multiple scenes look fantastic.
Some of them also look terrible, with some overly obvious CGI, but in the midst of this disaster the visuals are the most redeeming quality.