You, reading this, are young and taut, enduring of stress and substance. You enjoy the sensation of self-destruction: the slick burn of a cigarette, the hot dissolve of a shot down the gullet. Is this you? Do you enjoy fast food? Empty calories, trans fat, the sick sweet of high fructose corn syrup? If you do enjoy this, taking your body and mind, subjecting it to psychological and physiological obstacle, then you should watch Fifty Shades Darker, the middle film of the Fifty Shades trilogy.
It is a ridiculous film, with a ridiculous conception (recall this to be the multi-million dollar adaptation of an online fanfiction) and a poorly written, incredibly lame script. If this script were a live animal it would be a limping raccoon, crawling out of an overturned trash can, a dumb expression on its thoughtless face. The script is a war crime, a real atrocity committed against humankind. This film joins a long list of incredibly destructive American inventions like the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, the self-guided surface-to-surface ICBM, Agent Orange. This film is the reason people around the world burn the American flag. It’s films like this that make me sympathetic to fascism. An authoritarian regime would have never let this happen. This movie is perhaps morally corrosive.
Here are some events that happen within the film: a half dozen scenes of kink and romp synchronized to Soundcloud trap beats; Anastasia Steele (played by the very pretty, enduringly charming Dakota Johnson) kicks a man in the crotch; Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan, admirably handsome, enviably fit) survives a helicopter crash; one very loud and startling gunshot; the audience learns what nipple clamps are; a scene with some spanking; Christian Grey does a prolonged shirtless handstand; a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream plug.
Things I liked: Dakota Johnson’s bangs; the phrase “sex dungeon” used more than once; Zayn Malik and Taylor Swift collaborate on a single that isn’t as good as Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” but is this still pretty good, regardless; wine is thrown at faces.
This movie is sometimes a porno, sometimes a drama, sometimes a romantic comedy. It is very pastiche, one might be able to argue that the film is a postmodern masterpiece: ironic, involved, knowing and capable of all the stupid tricks it pulls. I do not think that is the case however; I think it is a goofy, tacky movie with funny writing and so-so acting.
The movie is not difficult to understand or watch, and besides a few moments of especially painful dialogue, the film goes by rather easily. It is a dumb movie, unbelievably so, but it is at least self-aware. It knows what it is doing and sometimes it is very funny. You have to enter this sort of thing with little to no expectation, perhaps a little intoxicated, and just learn to enjoy the stupid things some people do with a boatload of cash and film equipment.
If somebody were to pull a gun on me and touch the barrel to my temple, demanding that I see Fifty Shades Darker, I would acquiesce, but I would not see this movie again under my own will and want. It was a kind of fun thing I did once and will never do again, but if you like putting out matches with your fingers and waking up with hangovers then you might like this movie.