'Fifty Shades of Grey' lacks kink, chemistry and depth

Christine Illes
Assoc. Photo Editor

If you were to take the character of Edward Cullen and turn him into a billionaire and just change Bella Swan’s name to Anastasia Steele, you have the whole plot line of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Just take away all the vampires and werewolves and add sex.

The fact that this phenomenon started out as a “Twilight” fan-fiction all makes sense once you see it on the big screen.

E.L. James’ erotic novel has become a cultural sensation since its release in 2011. Needless to say, fans had extremely high expectations when the film came out this past weekend, making $81.7 million in the box office.

The film centers around the sexcapades between the virginal college senior, Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, and the domineering billionaire, Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan. Turns out, the god-like billionaire harbors a playroom of secrets as we discover he has a strong BDSM fetish and Anna struggles with signing a contract to being his subordinate, basically selling her soul to be completely his.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is based on the best-selling book by E.L. James. (Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com)
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is based on the best-selling book by E.L. James. (Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com)

Fans of the novel expected plenty of kinky sex scenes (considering that is all the novel has going for it, anyway). Unfortunately for the fans, the film only has about twenty minutes of intense passion between Mr. Grey and Miss Steele. There is a lot of nudity in the film, about ninety-eight percent of it being female nudity in typical Hollywood fashion. Outside of the sex scenes, the film does not have much to offer with it’s flat characters and stiff acting. You would think a novel with so much sex wouldn’t have such a dull film adaption. It is quite difficult not to laugh.

Johnson’s performance is similar to that of Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of Bella Swan (shocking), as she tends to be quite monotone and unenthused by the countless amount of extravagant gifts her billionaire sex demon showers her with, spending the majority of her time just biting her lip or simply putting a pencil to her mouth. She is bright-eyed, innocent, painfully awkward, but does bring some humor to the table. Her best scene? The one where she drunkenly calls Mr. Grey.

Christian Grey might as well be a mythical Greek god by the way James portrays him in her novel. Unfortunately, Dornan does not deliver much to the table when you compare his performance to the way his character is depicted in the novel. Looking constipated about ninety percent of the time, Dornan is too serious and does not have the intensity of the character that fans expect. His performance is completely deadpan, and we cannot help but laugh at quite a few of his one-liners. It is difficult to tell whether or not he is extremely uncomfortable…or trying way too hard.

In all, the film is a toned-down and less painful version of the book, but this leaves it to be completely dull. The steamiest and most unsettling scenes from the novel are not shown (which might be a good thing), and the chemistry between Johnson and Dornan is not very strong. Unfortunately, like it’s characters, “Fifty Shades of Grey” lacks depth, and so much more could have been explored.

If you want to see a kinky sex movie, just watch “The Wolf of Wall Street.”