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Movie’s appeal stuck in a grey area

Monday February 12, 2018 Written by Published in Entertainment
A scene from the movie 50 Shades Freed, which is now screening at Empire Rarotonga. 18020910 A scene from the movie 50 Shades Freed, which is now screening at Empire Rarotonga. 18020910

Let me describe a movie scenario to you.


Imagine a young, attractive, upwardly mobile woman who is on her way to success, before being thrown into a terrifying new world.

Suddenly, every move she makes is scrutinised and watched, and she must report to someone about her whereabouts at all times.

She is given a new job, not because she deserves it, but because someone wanted her to have it, and she knows it.

Although she is able to travel around the world, she is never able to do what she wants, and is expected to always obey her “master”.

And every night, she is taken to a red room and tied up, and occasionally whipped.

To many people I’m sure this would scream “horror movie”.

But to those who see romance, I can’t call you crazy, because that’s exactly what it is.

“It being 50 Shades Freed, the last of the Oscar-nominated (!) trilogy.

The opening of the movie is everything that fans love about the series - monogamy and espionage, while also doubling as a commercial for car-maker Audi.

Anastasia (Dakota Fanning) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) Grey, now happily married and enjoying their honeymoon, are called back home after they learn that there has been an attack on Grey Enterprises.

Christian insists that they return home after the attack, and then almost immediately takes Anastasia away again to show her a house he bought for her.

After Ana lays the smack down on the house architect, Christian even lets her drive them home – a great win for feminism.

On their way back to Seattle, they realise that they are being followed by an unknown assailant, presumably out to cause them harm.

It is here that the movie completely leaves its lane and becomes a thriller-type movie, and leaves the bedroom antics as a side piece.

But never fear, the terrible dialogue and story telling that the 50 Shades franchise has become famous for is still alive and well.

Johnson gives quite possibly the most confused performance in movie history, as though the actress is finding out information at the same time as the audience.

She changes her mind to suit the scene, and shows no indication that she deserved her promotion to the editor of a book publisher (unless they are making a subtle commentary that editors have their heads in the sky).

Dornan, on the other hand, does not look like he is interested at all, and possibly may have drunk alcohol before considering how he thinks a drunk person acts.

Combined, the cast delivers such quotable lines as “marry me? Please?”, “let’s go to the playroom”, and “don’t use the red room for revenge”.

But you presumably are going to see 50 Shades Freed for the red room activities, which are actually pretty tepid.

The most wooden thing in the movie is Dornan’s performance, and the most pornographic thing is actually the gratuitous helicopter shots of exotic locations.

If you’ve enjoy the previous two, you will probably enjoy the finale, or might just feel compelled to finish the series for completion sake.

Or you probably don’t have a choice, so good luck to you.

And if you do see it, you might realise that it is a very progressive movie that adores women – or it would have been, if it had been released in the 1930s.

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