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I wish I hadn't excoriated the novel on which this cinematic turd-singularity is based. Because now I can't put my review of the truly execrable film in the same node. And it is execrable. It really is. I should know. I've seen it.

Firstly, it came out on Valentine's Day. Thankfully, my girl friend at the time refused to see it under any circumstances, which is surely a good thing. Not because she didn't like BDSM but because she did not like badly written Twilight fan fiction that's been adapted into dire novels that overuse the phrase, "oh my" and "my inner goddess." Which is a good thing. She preferred grimdark stuff set in Yorkshire, amongst other things.

But to be honest, I fail enormously to see how 50SOG:TF lives up to the expectations of even its target audience. The interminable sex scenes and "kinky fuckery" are not present in the film. In fact, there's only 20 minutes in a 2 hour film involving sexual activity, and even that is pretty non-explicit soft focus nonsense. Even though the aforementioned shagging was the novel's original selling point. That being said, there's plenty of fanservice all the same so the bored middle-aged housewives who made up the readership of the book can surreptitiously schlick over Jamie Dornan (who he?) in a state of undress, though you don't see his "sex" or indeed anything like it. There's also that terrible publicity hound Beyoncé Knowles, a woman who would attend the opening of a letter and who suddenly discovered feminism as a fashion accessory, doing a sexy version of her previous song Crazy in Love. I know that this is the sexy version of it because it contains gratuitous heavy breathing. Whoop de fuckity do. It's almost as good as if someone had written a whole new song for it.

Anyhow. On to the acting. It's suitably wooden. The stars are barely Type M in their classification. The aforementioned Jamie Dornan, who plays everyone's friendly neighbourhood billionaire abuser Christian Grey, delivers all his lines in a dead monotone that is supposed to be masterful and smouldering but comes over as Microsoft Narrator, and gives lots of stares which are supposed to be stern yet melt-worthy and thus make the female audience's vaginae start dripping like a fucked fridge. Unfortunately he has the eyes of an unsuccessful rapist. Which is actually pretty accurate to the source material, really, isn't it, now I think about it, so this Dornan character was truly an inspired choice, I suppose. Either way, his acting is as wooden as a very wooden thing. But at least he doesn't have preternaturally long fingers like he did in the book and which made people like me think of ET. So that's one improvement, surely.

The plot and its sheer stupidity, that anyone, ANYONE, even a lip-biting ingenue who's never had sex or used the internets, would fall for a creephat like Grey is beside the point. Besides, we've already done that. I suppose, though, that when you're a billionaire you can probably lay hands on enough cash to open anyone's legs, and the arse-pulled vulnerability that he affects later on is of course another ruse, no doubt. There's also the whole distastefulness of excusing Christian Grey's rapey and abusive behaviour as "because it's the way I am" and the whole Freudian justification of having been spanked by his parents too much. Yay.

There's a few other worthies in this oeuvre. Rita Ora, known for being that judge on The Voice with the stupid hairdo, plays his mad sister, and phones in her performance as expected. Dakota Johnson (who she?) who plays Ana can't act either, although maybe it's the execrable source material that is to blame, I don't know. I suppose when you have dialogue like, "Do you wanna punish me right now?" "Yes. I wanna punish you right now." you can be forgiven somewhat for failing to make it in any way compelling. I suppose she gets points for making Ana look and sound like a battered wife towards the end though but this just adds to the horror of the whole film.

Which gives me an idea. In the hands of competent directors, producers, writers, etc. (which E. L. James, Sam Taylor Johnson, et al. are not), 50SOG:TF could have made a genuinely creepy as anything horror film. They could have made it a suitably harrowing examination of what it is like to be a victim of relationship abuse and to identify with one's abuser and to be gaslit and suffer Stockholm Syndrome and to think that you deserve it and that you will never have anyone else like Christian Grey in your life and that the prospect of losing the man who by his own admission can only get his jollies by beating women is the worst thing in the world. With superior acting they could have made Christian Grey into the sort of villain who hides in plain sight and who sends shivers down your spine. But they didn't. They kept it as a Mills & Boon with riding crops. Ugh.

Most unforgivably, the producers have removed all the giftedly bad bits from the novel. Lines such as, "I can do this. I can fuck him with my mouth!" and "The fisting I'll agree to, but I'd really like to claim your ass," and the infamous tampon out, cock in segment are excised. Which is a pity as this would have made the film just as giftedly bad, whereas now it is just boring as fuck. I'm elated to see that Christian Grey is still suitably rapey and control-freaky and all that and casts his controlling behaviour of Ana as actually looking out for her. Yay. There was a point, allegedly, at which the ending would have actually improved on the source material by having Ana use the safe word as a way of showing that she didn't want anything further to do with him but E. L. James threw her toys out the pram at such a suggestion because how dare anyone interfere with her wondrous literary oeuvre.

Despite this, the film still made tons of money. I guess that the power of fanservice (Jamie Dornan with his shirt off) is too strong to resist. However, you'll be pleased to note that it didn't get any of my money because I was sent it by a friend who pirated it. And I encourage anyone else who wants to see it to find a suitable torrent and do likewise because E. L. James and/or the people behind it don't deserve to make money from this abuse-glorifying waste of time and energy. And yes, the sequelae are being filmed as well.

If you want to see a good BDSM romance film, try Secretary instead. It's far, far, better and James Spader as the creephatted lawyer E. Edward Grey (who I'm sure Christian Grey was named after) is worth the price of admission in and of itself.

(IN16/5)

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