Daring Or Disaster? Here's What We Thought Of 'Fifty Shades Of Grey'
There's been no other book in recent memory that has captured the imagination of the masses like 50 Shades Of Grey.
Despite being described by its detractors as 'mommy porn', there was mass hysteria when it was announced that Sam Taylor-Johnson was going to turn E.L. James' novel into a film.
In fact, James' readers were so attached to the characters of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele that they rebelled at the casting of Sons Of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam in the lead role, with The Fall's Jamie Dornan later slipping into his best suit to play the millionaire who is "fifty shades of f**ked up".
So, is it actually any good?
Well, for starters, it's definitely better than the book... which is unusual in itself.
The novel suffered from repetition and flowery language in its narration, while 50 Shades has a much snappier and tighter script. That said, there are several lines delivered over the course of the film that definitely veer into 'stilted and cheesy' territory... particularly during Christian and Anastasia's initial meeting.
Dornan proves himself a good choice as Grey, successfully managing to nail his character's cool demeanour while simultaneously showing exactly why the young college student is so eager to check out his red room of pain.
A relative unknown, Johnson's casting raised a few eyebrows when it was first announced and she is definitely guilty of overplaying Ana's timid and nervous disposition. There are so many close-up shots of the actress chewing her bottom lip that it's a surprise she had one left by the end of filming.
We could discuss the direction, lighting and (absolutely brilliant) soundtrack, all day but the vast majority of those going to see 50 Shades this weekend will only want to know about one thing... the sex.
Before filming had even been completed, the lead actors had been blamed for having a lack of chemistry and Taylor-Johnson accused of sanitising the book's infamous sex scenes. The truth? There's plenty of sex and by Hollywood terms, it's pretty explicit.
The director revealed that Dornan and Johnson included strict nudity clauses in their contracts but in that case, the actress must have insisted on being unclothed as much as possible because by the end of the film, you'll know her body as well as your own. Dornan is also regularly naked on camera and there's a good few shots of his derrière for those so inclined.
The content of the movie is far from porn but viewers are privy to scenes including whipping, flogging and restraints, complete with overwrought expressions from Ana.
Most of the film stays in safe 'chick flick' territory with a bit of S&M thrown in but 50 Shades definitely takes a turn towards the end, with Ana request for a demonstration of what Christian really desires being met with a grim and teary flogging scene.
The movie had been slammed by some as portraying an abusive relationship and while that isn't true of the majority of the script, there is definitely something unsettling about the latter stages.
The ending is abrupt and clearly setting up viewers for the inevitable sequel, as the current release would be a completely futile exercise as a standalone movie.
This is a film that could have gone horribly, horribly wrong and the initial trailers definitely had us worried but to Taylor-Johnson's credit, she had managed to turn the novel into a fairly entertaining movie that will please the majority of its intended audience.
Should you go see it? Probably, as it's all that anyone is going to talk about for the next week or two. But if you find yourself otherwise engaged this weekend, all you'll really be missing out on is fifty shades of 'meh'.
Rating: 6 out of 10