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Review: Fifty Shades Darker

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By Jessica Leed

Image: Fifty Shades Movie

Although EL James’s second instalment of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy may be darker, it doesn’t take away from the dull Christian Grey (Jamie Doran), who still continues to show that the only thing he is passionate about is his ownership of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and his constant desire for sex.

As the title suggests, you expect James Foley’s film sequel to have something of a little more substance than Sam Taylor-Johnson’s first installment. However, you are left with a film so predictable it is almost laughable. The entire 115 minutes simply manages to capture a relationship/romance/obsession going around in circles- an exhausting game of love and seduction.

The film begins with Grey reliving a moment of his turbulent childhood which is assumingly the reason for this equally turbulent adulthood following his unresolved trauma. With Anastasia now pursuing a new successful career in a book publishing house, following her break up from Grey, it isn’t long until he shows his face at her friend’s photography exhibition. After he purchases all the images of Anastasia, saying, “I don’t want anyone gawking at your face”, it doesn’t take long for viewers to realise that the film is going to take a similar turn as the previous. Following this, the two reignite their relationship with new terms and agreements that have been laid down by Anastasia.

Surprisingly, Grey does seem to undergo a transformation in this film, being less obsessive and controlling. However this only lasts for all of ten minutes before he goes back to his old ways and similarly has no change in his dull personality throughout the entire film, with little to no emotion. Even when he crashes his helicopter and is missing for 12 hours before returning covered in blood, there is still no change in his monotone voice and dismal expression.

As the film progresses and you begin to realise the (slight) on/off change in Grey’s behaviour – being kinder, loving and more sedate – the only real threats that face his and Anastasia’s relationship comes from a stalker, Ana’s boss, Grey’s sexual mentor Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger) and, of course, the very unrealistic helicopter crash. Other than the occasional comical remark from Steele or the desirable view of Doran’s incredible physique, the film offers little gratification, if any at all. Although it does manage to exceed its predecessor in some aspects, there is still a significant loss in depicting a gripping storyline.

There were very few scenes throughout the film which slid by without mockery or sniggering by the audience. One example is when Ana declines the $24,000 that Christian got from selling her car and replacing it with a brand new Audi, his response being “I don’t want it. I make $24,000 every 15 minutes”. Christian’s smugness made it difficult to resist laughing and this continued throughout the film.

It isn’t hard to guess what could be next for the final installment of James’s trilogy. However, fans could perhaps predict a continued story of a loving woman waiting for her damaged man to transform and become less scared of intimacy, with a random and sporadic storyline intertwined.

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