The only positive thing about the release of Fifty Shades Freed is that this awful trilogy has finally come to an end and E.L James can take her vapid nonsense far, far away from our multiplexes. If it wasn’t for the very thin thread of Dakota Johnson holding this tapestry of disaster together it would have been an entirely unwatchable film.
In case you need reminding, at the end of the last film, Fifty Shades Darker, we saw Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Anna (Dakota Johnson) get engaged under the vengeful eye of Anna’s former boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), who was fired after sexually assaulting Anna. Thankfully, the wedding is taken care of during the opening credit sequence of Freed so at least we don’t have to sit through Anna discussing chair covers and cake samples with Christian, although that would have actually been more interesting than the discussion they later have about email addresses. No, I’m not joking. As a newly married couple, Anna is kind of struggling to embrace her new role as a wife and Christian is kind of worried about making commitments down the line (having children). Neither seem too concerned that Jack Hyde is stalking Anna for absolutely no reason whatsoever, but with Anna under the watchful eye of two bodyguards she hasn’t got anything to worry about, except for having it all.
Dakota Johnson is the one saving grace of this film, and that is saying something. She hasn’t exactly made waves in the acting world, although I do think the remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria may do for her what Killer Joe did for Matthew McConaughey. Absolutely every element of this film is diabolically awful and she does well to deliver her lines with even an ounce of conviction. Her character is given opportunities to be strong willed but she always backs down and lets Christian get his way. Even when you think she is giving him some well deserved sass, it never actually amounts to anything. She tells Christian that she wants to remain Anna Steel at work as that’s her identity as a publisher, but next time we see her at work she answers to Mrs Grey, so that’s that out the window. Presumably it’s all part of her submissive personality but it would have been nice to give her a touch of independence, especially considering Christian calls the shots in every aspect of their relationship. Even a hint that she is unhappy with something he throws his toys out the pram and punishes her by tying her up and teasing her with a vibrator between her legs. Whatever happened to just having a good old chat about the things that are bothering us eh?
Without going into too much detail regarding their relationship, there is absolutely nothing convincing about them. This has always been the problem from day one. Watching these two act out so called kinky sex scenes is just awkward. From the way they’re filmed, to the lighting, to the music, to the dodgy dialogue and the wooden (pardon the vernacular) performances, its just all very, very wrong. I feel like we’re just flogging a dead horse at this point, it didn’t work the first time, it didn’t work the second time so what makes you think it will work a third time? The point being, that so much screen time is taken up by these two dancing around each other and having pointless conversations about email addresses that the interesting conflict of Jack Hyde is downplayed to the point where the so called climactic final act falls completely flat. There was more suspense in the vibrator scene than there was with that showdown, if you can even call it that. Had there been more of a focus on this part of the story to make it an erotic thriller then we could have had a decent movie on our hands. Instead, we have a vaguely sexual soap opera.
There probably are worse movies out there but this is by far the worst I’ve seen in years. If Jamie Dornan has a career once the hype dies down I will be very surprised. If slipping in and out of his Irish accent wasn’t bad enough, the guy has one facial expression and I don’t know if it can even be defined. He is the very definition of a terrible actor. I feel sorry for the bloke in a way because the character of Christian Grey is so vapid there isn’t much he can really do, apart from drive fancy cars, take his shirt off and act like a possessive husband all the time.
This is an awful film and there really isn’t anything more I can say.
Catch the final instalment; Fifty Shades Freed on HBO on November 3 at 8pm. Watch the trailer below.