Fifty Shades Freed – Review

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades Freed – Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Dull writing and a stagnant story-line is the ultimate turnoff – 50 Shades Freed cuffs you to a chair and exposes you to the horrors of stale characters with no chemistry. If your kink is mindbogglingly stale writing, you’ve come to the right place.   

50 Shades Freed is an erotic romance drama film and the third and final installment of the 50 Shades franchise; it continues the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) as their relationship blossoms into husband and wife.

Before you bare yourself to the atrocities that this film commits, let me give you a brief rundown of how the film will unfold: characters go on vacation, get into a small disagreement, all is forgiven, they proceed to have a cringe-inducing sex scene – they repeat this about 3 times until you’ve fallen into a coma from toxic exposure. By the time the credits have finished rolling, you are left completely empty and full of regret like a drunk one-night-stand; knowing that you’ve willingly wasted over 2 hours of your precious lifespan on some of the most soul crushing “entertainment” available.

It’s honestly no surprise to see this film be just as bland as the others, this film falls flat for countless reasons, but its greatest offense as always was the glaring lack of character motivation. Both lead characters are absent of tangible and convincing conflict, Anastasia and Christian bicker between one another as to how their marital relationship will work, this is ultimately the basis of the films “relationship drama”, as for the actual drama, we get a villain type role that is without a doubt, laughably bad in every conceivable way. The frail attempts to pump artificial drama for intensity is the best this film could offer narratively. The constant switchback to a conflict followed by a sex scene gave off a familiar structure that I felt we had seen before, reminding me distinctly of The Room (2003) – and not just structurally; at varying degrees this film actually offers laughs at just how absurdly awkward the characters and acting can be. 

Not much can really be said for these outlandishly dull performances; Dakota Johnson barely scrapes a hair of improvement over her previous role as this character, though some improvements have been made, specifically in her emotional out-pours – don’t get me wrong, she is a talented actress, but not as this character. Parallel to her is Jamie Dornan – seeing the devolution of Jamie Dornan’s enthusiasm for playing this character stands as testament for how lacklustre and uninspiring it has been for those involved in the making of this franchise; he manages to have less charisma and less overall intensity, his lack of care for this franchise is apparent that it probably matches my own.

As with any 50 Shades film, all of its brownie points go to its visual aspects, however this time around I found that both the cinematography and costuming that gave the previous film (50 Shades Darker) its slight edge are all but absent. The overall visual aesthetic is okay, with the color-grade being the film’s greatest visual asset. The music has been without a doubt the highest regarded part of this franchise, and we do get some listenable tracks here, though not enough to tempt my favour.   

I don’t deeply hate this film series, the absurdity of the plot and the dialogue between the characters manages to be so astronomically clunky that it works to bring out some laughs directly at the film’s own expense. As a story, those who enjoyed the first film will undoubtedly enjoy this one, as the saying goes, different strokes for different folks.

2.6/10

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