Review: Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Directed by: James Foley | 118 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Bella Heathcote, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Bruce Altman, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie, Robinne Lee, Amy Price-Francis, Fay Masterson

After Anastasia Steele abruptly left Christian Gray at the end of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ because she could no longer handle his sexual preferences, we return to Seattle in ‘Fifty Shades Darker’. Anastasia now works as an assistant at a well-known publishing house and tries to ignore her former lover as much as possible. However, that doesn’t work and the two soon rekindle their relationship, on the condition that Christian opens up more to Anastasia. Despite their newfound happiness, Christian’s complex past soon turns out to be a source of many problems.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was a big hit in 2015. Due to the success of the books by EL James, a film adaptation was not long in coming. The first film became a huge commercial success and even the critics weren’t even negative. Yes, the sex scenes were on the good side and there was very little plot. But the film looked slick and protagonist Dakota Johnson actually turned out to be a nice Anastasia. Now there is part two with the same cast but without director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel. And it shows, director James Foley and screenwriter Niall Leonard (EL James’ husband!) take all the sharp edges off it. That doesn’t help ‘Fifty Shades Darker’.

Dakota Johnson is still the shining centerpiece of the film with her subtle sense of humor trickling in every now and then, but Jamie Dornan remains a one-dimensional pretty boy. The chemistry between the two remains soporific and it shouldn’t be in a story where kinky sex is one of the main elements. The frequency of the sex is fine in this film. There are more scenes than in the first film, but the BDSM scenes again appear to be on the good side. It never gets steamy or kinky. Oh, and those beautiful posters with the couple photographed masked? They don’t come from a sexy scene, but a masquerade ball given by Christian’s parents.

Christian is the main character in this movie anyway. He reveals more about his past and that often does not cause obstacles. For example, there are two women (one of them played by Kim Basinger), who cannot let go of Christian and who cause danger. These plot twists have potential but are brushed aside and resolved so quickly that you wonder why they were even put in the film at all. The pinnacle of redundancy, however, is a scene with a helicopter that literally and figuratively falls from the sky.

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ doesn’t live up to its name. The thriller elements hardly rise above the level of an average Wednesday night film and the sex scenes have not become more exciting either. The film also looks fine and Dakota Johnson makes ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ just enough to sit through it all. A missed opportunity, but who knows whether the end of the trilogy in 2018 will make everything right.

Comments are closed.