Movie Review: Fifty Shades Freed

The final installment of the racy trilogy is the weakest of them all

Fifty Shades Freed (Padesát odstínů svobody)
Directed by James Foley
With Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Arielle Kebbel, Max Martini, Brant Daugherty, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora

With the release Fifty Shades Freed, the audience can now put this whole sordid episode behind them and pretend it never happened.

The series goes out on a weak note, with Fifty Shades Freed feeling like a generic TV crime drama that one stumbles on late at night and watches because finding the remote control involves too much effort.

Fans of the books and first two movies, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker, know what to expect: a ridiculously wealthy man, his spirited but submissive sex partner, fine locations and some cursory plot.

This time the scenes of BDSM seem added as an afterthought, and add nothing to the unnecessarily creepy plot. They also are pretty tame and brief.

The main focus is that the couple at the center of the series, billionaire Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) and his now wife Anastasia 'Ana' Steele (Dakota Johnson) have a stalker. This was hinted at in the previous episode.

The film opens with the Greys getting married, following on the proposal that ended the previous episode. Everyone likes a nice wedding, but the filmmakers miss an opportunity and race through the event. The honeymoon, an opportunity for some exotic locations, also gets cut short so we can rush into the lifeless plot about the stalker.

The questions keep piling up, as, despite the extensive security that Christian Grey has hired, the disgruntled stalker just appears like magic whenever he wants.

Ana still has a job working at a publishing house, but crisis after crisis causes her to have to neglect her work. Still, her boss has nothing but praise for her despite the pile of manuscripts on her desk just getting bigger.

There is a bit of humor this time, with Ana offering to lend handcuffs to the security guards at one point.

The one good development is that Ana’s character has grown more confident and takes control of her life, standing up against an architect whose plans and attitude aren’t to her liking. One slight nod to film history has a scene that harks back to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, with the housekeeper overwhelming Ana with questions about the menu. Ana shows that she won’t be dominated by the domestic staff.

But these don’t outweigh the truly pedestrian crime plot that is the center of Fifty Shades Freed. Instead of focusing on the two newlyweds trying to establish a future together, which could potentially have been interesting, they are chased around by a mysterious criminal who has become obsessed with them.

There is a rather indifferent car chase and some other B- or C-grade crime movie cliches.

Even scenes that should have been slam-dunks, like Ana and her female friends shopping for expensive clothes, have a cheap TV movie feel to them.

The list of ways to improve the film is endless, but there is little use in making suggestions now.

The series though, despite generally negative reviews, is set to cross the billion-dollar mark at the box office. The first film holds the Czech record for the most viewers on its opening weekend, 256,470.

Films like this used to be popular in the 1970s, with series like Emmanuelle promising erotic delights, locations and an easy to follow the story.

Fifty Shades Freed breaks form that formula by having a rather unpleasant plot that has nothing to do with the erotic scenes. But with this last chapter finished, the torture is finally over.

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