[critical] 50 SHADES OF GREY

Avant of all, I must clarify at what point I went into the meeting with a negative feeling. Ready to puke on the film all my bile criticism, based on “little sex”, “no depth”, “no interest”. Convinced, that I would lose just 2 hours of my life to see a classic romance, from seduction to love crazy through separations and reunions.

Yet, the heart of the film is not there; the romance predictable turns very quickly into a metaphorical reflection on the understanding of the other within a loving relationship.

This could explain the global success of the story concocted by E. L. James (that I have not read) and the mise-en-images by Sam Taylor-Johnson: a universal dialogue on the reports of men/women hidden in a promise of eroticism accessible merging with a romance and ultra-codified; a fantasy of sensuality confronted with the idealization of the love relationship. In fact, it is exciting.

If the step is “coup de foudre & seduction” of the first 25 minutes is, therefore, the codes of the romance of cinema, the introduction of a bias SM Grey introduced a dive in the intimacy of this couple. This inclination is indicated in a frank, precise and unequivocal: the presentation of the red room, the contract.

Therefore, the focus is shifting. It’s more a case of “conquer the heart” as in any romantic comedy, but to understand how to operate and move forward together, in spite of the obstacle. This one is particularly complex. On the one hand, Christian portrays the sexual act as a catharsis to his dark past; on the other, Anastasia, too cerebral and conditioned, is not sufficiently instinctive to give up. The love that they themselves have the incentive to adapt one to the other, with more or less cynicism, and in spite of their dislikes of each one.

Sado-masochism is not, as an allegory of the difficulty to find an agreement, a balance within the couple.

All of this would be profoundly boring and bergman-ien without a few additions very mainstream. The most obvious: sex.

Here, it may be the feminine sensibility behind the camera that speaks, but the emphasis is really put on the excitement, the sensuality, rather than on his character allegedly provoc’.

In fact, Sam Taylor-Johnson does filming ever really act, but, rather, its patients and frustrating foreplay. The big plus, is the way in which it builds its scenes of gender – as a true climax. These climaxes are, therefore, surrounded by a preparation which I think is Spielbergienne, by the idea of suspense related to the hazard. Physical Danger, but also psychological.

The reference to Spielberg is not innocent. For us, the director has re-invented a language of cinema in terms of Entertainment, in seeking to install characters and their history, before confronting the danger of a situation. The empathy created is strong enough to disturb the viewer, make him feel all the implications of a decision, all the emotions inherent in a situation. This is how that works Sam Taylor Johnson. The romance is this phase of empathy, the danger will begin with the interaction (here, sexual) between Anastasia and Christian.

“50 SHADES OF GREY is a sensual discourse on the relationship man-wife, not romancing as usual, but honest, raw and emotionally fleshed-out.”

One finds, finally, the same kind of pattern as in the Teeth of the Sea, or… The Life of Adele (golden Palm at cannes, the year Spielberg was president of the Jury). Sam Taylor-Johnson, without anything upsetting on the ground, it was purely cinematic, taking back-to-the-letter this grammar, and applies it to the codes of the romantic comedy. The two main characters are no longer Anastasia and Christian, but rather their love, and sadomasochism. Each is a danger to the other – and this is what the film examines.

A reappropriation maline which reminded us of the It Was Time of Richard Curtis, or It Follows in a different register.

The interpretation of the two actors is thus in agreement with this fact : Jamie Dornan, frankly, is completely interchangeable. Fortunately, this is not his acting talents that are needed here, but his psychology is impenetrable and its function as a catalyst for sensual. It therefore embodies no problem this man talkative, but psychologically mutique, trauma, present but not speaking ever that in the perversion. We add to this about the intelligence of not having to resort to flashbacks to present the background of freudian character, but a story purely oral (Spielberg youhou!). Even smarter, the subtlety of the time – when Christian explains the why and how.

Dakota Johnson, it leaves no zone of mystery to Anastasia. His body (beautiful) is, therefore, regularly up-to-nu, while the character, the personality and the different moods of Anastasia are bolstered by her acting, which consists of a quantity of details amazing.

Alchemy doesn’t have to be the little game of subtle actors, but rather the behavior of their characters.

Impenetrable to one side, hyper-expressive of the other. A sum of opposites, what. Interesting.

Last positive note, the music.

Not the score of Danny Elfman – quite disgusting – but rather the playlist, associating with a taste for the scenes of the most anticipated artists very… BNM from Pitchfork (The Weeknd, Beyonce, Jessie Ware). Class.

In the end, 50 SHADES OF GREY is much more surprising than expected. Re-using the cinematic codes of the romance and especially the combo, suspense/tension, it delivers us a sensual discourse on the relationship man-wife, not romancing as usual in the movies, but honest, raw and psychologically developed.

The other outputs of the February 11, 2015


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