UK Release Date: 9th February 2018
Runtime: 105 minutes
Director: James Foley
Writer: Niall Leonard
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle
Synopsis: Marital bliss doesn’t last long for the Greys, when a face from their past arrives, with mayhem on his mind, to cause severe problems for the couple and their family.
It’s de rigueur among film critics, movie fans and indeed snarky elitist types in general to use the release of a new Fifty Shades movie to take a swipe at EL James’s trashy trilogy of erotic novels and the films they have spawned. When the Razzies are handed out in 2019, it seems likely that final entry Fifty Shades Freed will sweep the board. That’s despite the fact the film is far from awful. Oddly, given its supposedly taboo subject matter, it’s as vanilla as they come.
We meet Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) as blissful newlyweds on a ludicrously expensive honeymoon in Paris. They are called back to the US when Ana’s former boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), who Christian had sacked in the last film, has broken into Grey Enterprises and stolen some computer data. It soon transpires that Jack has a score to settle with both Christian and Ana, with the mysterious corners of Christian’s past seemingly a part of it all.
The simple fact of the matter here is that Fifty Shades Freed is neither much better or much worse than the previous two movies in this series. It’s a bland drama with all of the eroticism of an evening at the pub with Steve Davis, but there’s a certain sparkiness to the way Dakota Johnson plays the preposterously named Anastasia Steele that makes for at least one watchable screen presence. The same cannot be said for Jamie Dornan, who spends the entire story wearing the thousand-yard stare with a glint of optimism of someone serving out the last days of a prison sentence.
This franchise, for many, is about the sex and Fifty Shades Freed serves up the usual smattering of desperately unsexy BDSM play. In this movie, though, the narrative simply stops to allow these scenes to happen and nothing would change if they were simply lifted out of the film. These scenes have certainly gone off the boil since that first film and, at this point, the pubic product placement afforded to a particular ice cream brand is about as erotic as things get for returning director James Foley. The same lack of fizz is true of the main story – an under-cooked stalking narrative that culminates in a very poor kidnapping attempt.
Fifty Shades Freed is probably the worst movie of its franchise, lacking the tongue-in-cheek highlights of the first movie and deepening the tedium that made the middle entry such a chore at times. It does, however, boast a fun central performance from Johnson and a sense of silliness that provides a couple of chuckles when Niall Leonard – husband of EL James – allows the actors to breathe a little from the dreadful dialogue. With all of that said, this simply isn’t a film worth getting angry about. It’s not all that bad. It’s merely mediocre.
Pop or Poop?
The Fifty Shades franchise reaches its *ahem* climax with less than impressive results. It provides a slight spank on the rear end rather than the sexy BDSM thrills many would perhaps hope to see. Jamie Dornan looks like he would rather be anywhere else, but Dakota Johnson has a smile on her face that suggests at least she is having a good time.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.