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(2015) ★★

Sky Movies Premiere: PREMIERE Friday 20 November, 10.00pm

The usual girl-meets-boy, boy-ties-up-girl, girl-cuts-loose story. It never gets out of hand, not even with the spanking. But will it tickle your fancy? Dakota Johnson is virginal college graduate Anastasia Steele, tempted into a spot of bondage with Jamie Dornan’s tormented billionaire Christian Grey. Who has 50 ways to shame his lovers.

Basically by making them sign confidential non-disclosure agreements before the games begin. Business as usual for Dornan, the panty-sniffing one-percenter in charge of Grey Enterprises. But it never revels in the sex à la Brian De Palma’s Body Double (although there’s a hint of young Melanie Griffith’s goofy charm in Ms Johnson’s performance). Like Mr Grey’s binding contract (no pun intended), it gives consensual sex a bad name. With appendices.

He doesn’t do hearts and flowers. Wait till you hear his backstory; it’s hilarious. Welcome back to the world of Zalman King. Jumping from the Red Shoe Diaries to the Red Room, the film of E.L. James’ bestseller is too soft for porn, too silly for romance. It resides in the mildly kinky realm of Mickey Rourke’s naughty 90s hits, 9½ Weeks and Wild Orchid. Fisting aside (talked about, not practised), the most perverse thing about 50 Shades is that Danny Elfman did the music. Is the book rubbish? No idea. Seated on my high horse, I couldn’t read it. But the film isn’t.

Not completely. It’s sadistically long but competently if conventionally assembled and not badly acted, especially by the submissive Ms Johnson who manages to seem naturalistic even in the face of the silliest dialogue. The dominant Dornan is much duller and hardly seems human at all. A being hatched mid-Atlanic, outlining his game-room rules and regs in an android monotone, more Darth Vader than Mr Darcy.

His Castle Grey Skull highrise parking lot is full of high-end motors. “Which one’s yours?” asks the innocent Johnson. “All of them,” says Grey. Adorable. David Duchovny survived Red Shoe Diaries, this couple will get over this. Dornan’s got The Fall to fall back on and Dakota’s already upped her cultural ante in Cymbeline. I Put a Spell On You is crooned by Annie Lennox over the opening titles but if anyone was really serious about this it would have been the Marilyn Manson version (used by David Lynch in Lost Highway). Later, Sinatra sings Witchcraft. Me, I still miss the Beatles. Why don’t we do it in the road?

Certificate: 18
Duration: 125min

IMDB – Fifty Shades of Grey

TMDB – Fifty Shades of Grey

Rotten Tomatoes – Fifty Shades of Grey

Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 21 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Saturday, 21 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 22 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Sunday, 22 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 23 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Monday, 23 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 24 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Tuesday, 24 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 25 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Wednesday, 25 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 26 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Premiere Thursday, 26 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Premiere Friday, 27 November at 1:55AM
Sky Movies Showcase Saturday, 28 November at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Showcase Sunday, 29 November at 2:00AM
Sky Movies Greats Tuesday, 8 December at 11:30PM
Sky Movies Showcase Friday, 18 December at 10:00PM
Sky Movies Showcase Saturday, 19 December at 1:45AM