Review: 'Fifty Shades' lacks climax

Tom Long
The Detroit News

Wouldn't you think a movie that's all about sex should have a climax?

Instead, "Fifty Shades of Grey" offers moviegoers a case of cinema interruptus; it simply shuts down mid-act. With most films this would be a major problem. With "Fifty Shades" it's more of a relief.

Even when it's going full bore (pun intended) this is nothing more than an experiment in manipulating air. The two-hour film, based on the ridiculously popular novel a whole lot of people are going to be proud to say they never read, is really just a matter of stretching out an absurdly thin plot that's basically an excuse for bondage fantasies.

Here we go: A college student named Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) fills in for a friend when she interviews young, handsome billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Grey, the proverbial man who has everything, becomes smitten with the innocent girl. He stalks and seduces her and then lets her in on a secret — he likes to dominate women with things like paddles and ropes and fancy handcuffs.

She's a bit taken aback, but she agrees to his shenanigans. Cue the paddles and ropes and fancy handcuffs and much nudity.

Then she changes her mind.

End of movie.

Well, that was certainly satisfying. Let's all share a cigarette.

Actually, Dakota Johnson more than deserves some praise here. Even as she's constantly biting her lip on cue, she keeps this movie's first half rolling with some nice, natural, low-key humor. She deserves far, far better.

Dornan, on the other hand, is pretty much a blank. Then again, so's his character. The book "Fifty Shades" may have given readers empty characters they could project onto. In the movie, those characters become flesh. And man, do they look dumb.

'Fifty Shades of Grey'


Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language

Running time: 125 minutes

"Fifty Shades of Grey" (R ) An inconclusive end, a paper-thin plot, handcuffs, whips and nudity. Dakota Johnson does her best to liven things up, but this empty adaptation of the popular novel has little to work with. (125 minutes) GRADE: D+