Review: Fifty Shades Freed

  • Cast: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes
  • Directed by James Foley (Fifty Shades Darker, House of Cards)

There was no doubting it: the final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy was going to dominate box offices worldwide.

On release to coincide with Valentine’s day, E. L. James’ erotic trilogy gathered a whopping $38.8m over the weekend of its release in the US, according to Business Insider.

Yet despite the technicalities: it was simply another anti-climax.

It was a tiresome 1h 45m for viewers rich in painful acting, a poor and unnecessary subplot, and the crowd-pleasing soundtrack we hear time and time again but thankfully, now, for the last time.

The blockbuster centres around multi-millionaire newlyweds, sadist Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and the faux-girl-next-door Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), kicking off with a brief wedding scene, a few fleeting shots in different honeymoon locations, and Christian whinging at his new wife for exposing her breasts on a topless beach.

This time round, however, it seems the sex wasn’t enough for the brains behind the franchise as we were reintroduced to Anastasia’s psychotic ex-boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). A sickly “surprise! I bought you a mansion” trip around a house on the outskirts of Seattle leads to the couple being unexpectedly involved in a car chase. They zoom away in Christian’s new Audi, cheesy one liners and all, and manage to get away.

One may assume being involved in a relentless car chase would end in tears and crippling anxiety, but not for this swanky pair as they pull up into what looks like Debenhams car park and maul each other in another anti-climactic sex scene that lasts a grand total of 20 seconds.

These scenes, the base for the films and the shock-factor on which many people mustered up interest in the franchise in the first place, resembled those of the Twilight Saga. From perfectly-lit shots of Dornan’s muscular back and Johnson’s side boob, to the wailing renditions of pop hits and the premature husky breaths from Johnson as soon as Dornan lays a single finger on her… it was cringeworthy.

In parts, it was like watching an episode of The Bill albeit with a more aesthetically pleasing cast; the backing music pumping away like a heartbeat monitor whilst Christian and his security clan discussed Hyde’s antics. Having seen Dornan in roles such as his in The Fall, it’s hard to take him seriously when playing Grey; if you look close enough, the awkwardness is etched away on his face.

If you haven’t read the books, this crime-based subplot will consistently leave you baffled but towards the end of the film we have a classic deus ex machina where viewers finally, lazily, get an explanation for Hyde’s drama – I for one wasn’t going to accept it as an act of rebellion after Anastasia turned down an office rumble in Fifty Shades Darker.

The movie ends with Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” blaring – an ode to significant moments within the previous films – a new haircut for Ana, and a pair of turned-up chinos for Christian.

One thing I can’t deny is that it was easily entertaining; ideal for – sorry, Foley – a laugh with your friends. Although, without some food beforehand, it wouldn’t have made for such a noteworthy evening.