by Ryan Pollard
Fifty Shades Darker is an absolute turdfest from start to finish, providing no improvements to a predecessor that was only meh to begin with. In hindsight, Fifty Shades of Grey felt like an exercise in trying to make trash look like art and not wholly succeeding, whereas this is pure trash and not in a good way. In fact, this makes the first instalment look like Citizen Kane in comparison, which I never thought was possible. At least with the first movie, it benefited from brilliant direction, gorgeous cinematography, great music and a competent performance from Dakota Johnson. Here though, everything across the board fails, from the direction, writing, acting, music, cinematography, and so on.
It felt as though everyone involved just didn’t even gave a damn anymore and opted instead to play it incredibly lazy, boring, inept, uninteresting and lifeless, to the point where you’ll most likely fall asleep even when the “steamy” stuff starts to happen. Nothing at all happens in this movie, so you’re just going through this soulless experience where the two protagonists (Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey) flip-flop back and forth constantly from one location to another talking about each other’s feelings and issues, all delivered horribly with zero chemistry between our leads. The actors look bored out of their brains, especially Dakota Johnson who simply no longer cares to be a part of this anymore, and Jamie Dornan is simply as bland as before.
The talented Bella Heathcote is completely wasted in a small but “crucial” role, whilst Kim Basinger shows up looking like Barbie on drugs and making wish for the old days of 9½ Weeks. The filmmaking is beyond incompetent, and despite the fact that director James Foley has directed some good films before (e.g. Glengarry Glenn Ross, Confidence), his direction feels phoned in. The cinematography is atrocious, with every scene composed horribly. The editing is nonsensical, and Danny Elfman’s score feels like incidental music that you’d normally skip over on a soundtrack. Speaking of which, the pop songs used in this film, especially during the erotic sequences, are laughably bad and clash with the “serious” tone this movie is trying to convey.
Seriously, everything about this movie fails on every possible level and it will only leave you bored out of your minds. The books may be pure garbage, but at least there was an entertainment factor found in them, if only thanks to the hilarious dialogue, which is nowhere to be found here and even the smidgen of talent they had in the previous film has been completely dissipated. Plus, to make matters worse, there’s even a teaser trailer for the upcoming final instalment Fifty Shades Freed halfway during the end credits that was used in the most cynical way possible to make audiences watch and give them more money, which this franchise does not deserve. By the time this movie finishes, you’ll be demanding your money back. I know I did, and yet I saw it for free! Congratulations Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, You’ve just found your new companion for worst film of 2017!
Dir: James Foley
Scr: Niall Leonard
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Max Martini, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden, Eric Johnson, Bella Heathcote
Prd: E.L. James, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, Marcus Viscidi
DOP: John Schwartzman
Music: Danny Elfman
Run time: 131 mins
Fifty Shades Darker is released on DVD on 26th June.