Tag Archives: film

What’s the deal with Fifty Shades of Grey?

I vaguely remember the storm around E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey when it came out. I remember gathering around a copy with my friends, trying to find the rude sections, and giggling as we read it out. I remember seeing pictures of women brazenly reading it on trains for the world to see, and being fairly impressed at this unapologetic display of an erotic book on their way home from Charing Cross on a Tuesday night. I am in Great Britain, after all, and even though we are known for our prudishness, we are not one to ban stuff.
With the arrival of trailers of the second film, Fifty Shades Darker, I decided to get off my high horse, and watch it. Now, I know it was originally written as a fanfiction from Stephanie Meyers Twilight series, hence the reason why I avoided the film like the plague. Like many others, I assumed it was directed at middle aged suburban women, thrill-seeking and trembling in their cinema seats. But alas, I watched it. And like, what’s the deal with it?

The plot was very simple, very dull, and I kept waiting for something dramatic and exciting to happen. But no. It’s was just a series of meetings between Ana and Christian as they bonded (and later, bondaged… ignore that. I’ll work on the puns later). I did wonder how they were going to direct a film all about explicit sex (from what I gather, I haven’t actually read the book so lack the means to compare) but it was done very tastefully, and the sex scenes weren’t half bad.

Now, I don’t know if I’m being a feminazi here, or whether the film genuinely displayed an almost abusive relationship. Christian draws up a contract for Anastasia, in which she, as a submissive sexual partner, can’t drink alcohol, can only eating food from a specific list, and specifically says she must do anything sexual he asks for ‘without argument’, because nothing says sexy like the underlying threat of rape.

Now, if a guy tried to tell me I couldn’t drink, or I wasn’t allowed that second slice of pizza, he’d be out the door before you could say dildo.
Ana, like any self-respecting woman, doesn’t sign the contract, and eventually gets on with her life, until Christian, displaying EXTREMELY possessive, obsessive tendencies, hounds her via text, getting genuinely pissed off that she’s taking her time considering signing her soul and dignity away. Eventually, instead of giving her the breathing time that she needs, he decides to stalk her, enter her apartment without asking, and has sex with her. Talk about seduction. Already at this point warning bells are going off in my mind. lets face it, girls love a bad boy. Sometimes, it’s cute when he gets jealous. But this goes so far beyond that.
Christian goes so far beyond cute to stalker-psycho, more like Patrick Bateman than Patrick Swayze. He tears her away from her graduation with her father, tells her she cannot go to see her mother and then when she does, turns up and -oh you guessed it- drags her away from special time with her mother. The guy doesn’t have boundaries. He takes over her life completely, and its not sexy, its not cute, its borderline abusive.

But the real cruncher here, is that Christian, whilst displaying a psychotic sort of cold affection towards Ana, states there would be no romantic relationship, only a sexual one. Ana can not touch him, or sometimes look him in the eye. And whilst all the women watching this film look with goggle eyes at Jamie Dornan (Christian), they fail to acknowledge this insult. This guy is the epitome of what we now say ‘fuckboy’. He is not interested in dating her, being nice to her, getting to know her, only using her for his own pleasure. And women find this… sexy? If a boy texted one of my friends saying he wasn’t interested in her for her sunny personality, only her vagina, we’d both laugh and cast him off with all the other fuckboys. But I guess it’s different if it’s a sadistic famous millionaire (A GREAT message for young girls, by the way).

Christian gives Ana a new laptop, expensive books, and even a car (though it’s crucial to point out that without asking her, he got one of his henchmen to sell her old one. See why I have a problem with this?)So basically, it’s a sugar-daddy/ escort situation, but it’s okay because he’s hot.
The main redeeming factor is Anastasia finally leaves Christian, and it seems apparent that she is standing up for herself, not allowing him to hurt her, buy her or own her- a point that now seems redundant considering there’s a second film- but we’ll get to that later.

Now maybe I am reading to much into it. And whilst I don’t want to come off too feminist-lefty-liberal, I honestly do see some worrying displays of abuse in the film. I get the whole dominant-submissive sexual thing, but when it surpasses the bedroom, and takes over the couples life, surely that becomes a problem? If Christian wants to dominant Ana in the bedroom, and she consents, then its all fun and games. But it goes past this, to him controlling what she eats, what she drinks, her friends, when she sees her family, what car she drives, where she lives. So what do you guys think? Is it a disgusting portrayal of an abusive relationship, condoning dominance in young couples? (It’s key to remember this that some young audiences, will watch this and think this is how functional relationships work because majority of teenage audiences are young, dumb, and full of cum.)
Or is it a harmless film that plays around with sexual stereotypes? What do you guys think? Even if you haven’t watched it and have stuck this far, what reading do you get from it? I’d be fascinated to know what others think of this film, as it seems weird for me to bring it up to my friends after years of it being released (and I’m almost ashamed to admit watching it). Let me know what you guys think. Peace Out.

Sterilisation, Utopia & Inferno

 

 “There comes a moment in history when ignorance is no longer a forgivable offense… a moment when only wisdom has the power to absolve”
(Dan Brown, Inferno)

What I believe the quote means, is that humans are selfish. Inherently selfish. Now, I assume that everyone that reads this will know and understand what I mean when I say the words; Global Warming. And yet, our brain switches off. We don’t care- and why? Because it is not our problem. By us, I don’t mean humans, I mean everyone alive and well at this present second. We are warned of global warming, of the melting ice caps, and the scorching earth, and the exploding sun- and then we realise- its not our problem. We won’t be alive for that, so what’s the damn point of trying to help? And this is our ignorance. It is not a forgivable offense, because we know what we’re doing. We’re passing down our shit, our issues (all of which we’re contributing to) onto others, because we won’t feel the effects. I will use Dan Brown (author of Inferno, the text in question) to show what I mean.

“It took the earth’s population thousand of years-from the early dawn of man all the way to the early 1800s-to reach one billion people. Then astoundingly, it took only about a hundred years to double the population to two billion in the 1920s. After that, it took a mere fifty years for the population to double again to four billion in the 1970s. As you can imagine, we’re well on track to reach eight billion very soon. Just today, the human race added another quarter-billion people to planet Earth. A quarter million. And this happens every day-rain or shine. Currently every year they’re adding the equivalent of the entire country of Germany.”

One of my modules is Apocalypse, Utopia and Dystopian fiction, and today we studied one of the Utopia (2014) episodes. Set in the 70’s, it showed a scientist, Philip Carvel creating a virus called ‘Janus’, the main gist of the virus is that it would automatically sterilise whoever it came into contact with, it’s intent is to cull overpopulation issues. He teams up with Milner (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones) and together they form a bond over the project. When presenting how the virus works, Philip raises the idea that he can tweak the virus, allowing it to separate ‘groups’ of people, allowing them to be sterilised. One character points out that this is selective breeding, comparing it to Third Reich fascist ideologies of eugenics, and refuses the idea. I would heavily recommend watching the episode, even if you haven’t seen the show, as its so interesting and stimulating. The episode makes you constantly change your mind on a character and their ethics. When you think someone is good, they do something abhorrent, and when you see someone do something bad, they provide explanations and justification for that character. I’m being cryptic because I don’t want to ruin the episode, but it also delves into the election, and the rise of thatcher, fictionalising a large portion of history. After watching the episode, we all sat around and discussed it and it raised many debates on sterilisation, bringing me to my main query.

How immoral is the idea of sterilisation? Now, it’s not a form of genocide, surely, there is no actual murder involved, it is not even a form of abortion, as no life has been conceived yet. Yet it does remove choice and free will from people, bringing up ethical questions regarding human rights. I asked one of my housemates what he thought, and he said if we were to remove the chance of people having children, it wouldn’t be fair. And this is true- if I found out I was unable to have children, I’d be devastated. As a women, it’s been ingrained within me that one of the main goals/events of my life will be to bear children. And if I found out something or something was responsible, I’d be furious. Yet, aren’t we removing free will and choice for humans later on if we do nothing? If we allow global warming and over population to get worse and worse, then is that fair? Another point raised in the episode of Utopia is race. If sterilisation was to occur, what is to stop people from tweaking the effects, or controlling who received the virus, meaning certain races could be wiped out due to lack of breeding.

One friend suggested to me that instead of sterilisation, perhaps humans later on would inhabit and colonise other planets, like mars, and start anew. While this is a far out idea, it is not impossible. Yet isn’t it completely selfish and narcissistic of us humans to ignore the damage we have caused, continue being the problem and ruin other planets? If we do inhabit mars and other planets, and by some miracle, do not die and kill the human race, then surely things will continue and continue. Because global warming is not a seemingly near-problem, it seems that people do not care enough to try and save the earth. When I make general musings on sterilisation, I mean in general terms, not for selective races.

So, my general musing or query, is how ethical is sterilisation? Is it unthinkable, immoral? Or is it a logical solution to the overpopulation crisis?

In 1979, a policy was introduced called ‘The One child policy’ in China. I’m sure many people have heard of this, but to briefly summarise; the idea was to allow families to have one child and no more, to increase access to water and resources, to alleviate economical and environmental issues (such as crowding and overpopulation). Form what I gather, it was largely successful, with healthier benefits for infants, and helped decrease the intense over-population. I had heard rumours ( though I don’t know the truth of this) that the parents could be arrested if they had more than one child without… asking? Applying? I’m not sure- do you apply for your own child? Anyway, I’m not sure how it works, but from what I understand, fines were introduced if the family were to have a second child (as if having more than one child wouldn’t decrease bank amounts enough.) From what I hear (AKA, Wikipedia and other shady online resources, not actually from china government officials) the economic development was fantastic, etc. Apparently (again, if you’re interested, feel free to double check facts) above 70% of Chinese people supported the policy (2008) in a survey. As of 2015 the policy has now been changed to include a second child.

This brings me back to my general argument. If couples were allowed to have one or two children, THEN were sterilised, would this remove all argument? People still get the family they desire, but within limits. People don’t keep popping out babies by accident. Someone raised the issues the other day that women over the age of 30 that were already mothers were more reluctant to consider abortion as an option. And if people wanted a larger family, then adoption could be an option? I’m not a mother, and I’m not in a position to continue having a family yet, so I don’t know. I guess I’m curious as to what others think about this. I’m trying to remain neutral, but there is a logical, calculated sense in the idea. Think of the hundreds and thousands of childrens without families, without homes, that are not adopted. Think of people that have children simply to claim benefits, and their children go neglected and unloved. Think of the future humans that have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Despite us all doing a bit of recycling, it seems that no one seems either aware, or rather, seems to care, about these effects. I’d like to state as a disclaimer that I am in no way for sterilisation, it’s just a musing from one of my seminars. it does lead to some very interesting questions, however. What would the effects be? Are there any more reasons for or against the idea? If anyone does read this, then please, let me know your thoughts. And to really instill the fear within you, here’s one last quote from Mr Brown.

“Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease—they are the symptoms. The disease is overpopulation. And unless we face world population head-on, we are doing nothing more than sticking a Band-Aid on a fast-growing cancerous tumour” -Dan Brown, Inferno.

REVIEW : LIMITLESS

Limitless is a film showing a struggling writer (the dynamic Bradley Cooper) who is the epitome of procrastination. His laziness and lethargic nature combined with a shabby, messy apartment and the looks of a crackhead in rehab remind me of University students on a Monday morning. I found Eddie’s character therefore extremely easy to connect to and empathise with- majority of us are, after all, inactive creatures with a tendency to shirk our duties. Eddie is on the verge of despair, his life spiralling out of control with his girlfriend dumping him and near to losing his job. The introduction of a new drug- NZT (the name itself sounds chemically snappy) from a vague old friend gives Eddie a chance to be someone else- the better version of himself. What I find particularly interesting is that the drug doesn’t change or alter much in your mind, rather organising it in a way so the information you receive your whole life, is accessible to you when you need it. An example is when in a fight, Eddie remembers clips from self defence and karate movies he had watched, using them to fight a couple of guys that had attacked him.

Things are now going great for Eddie. We see everything more vivid an colourful as the director enhances the audiences own vision so we experience this drug alongside the protagonist. Eddie gets a dashing haircut, a new suit, cleans his apartment, visibly getting his life together. He cleverly starts doubling his money and investing in stocks, using this drive to do something productive. The only problem is that for me, his original dreams of becoming a writer are not mentioned again- so does the drug change his personality? Or somewhere along the way did his aspirations change? Bradley Cooper interestingly enough plays another struggling author in a film called ‘The Words’ (On Netflix if anyone wan to check it out).

All good things must come to an end, however, as it was too good to be true- somehow I don’t think the directors intention was to suggest that drugs were brilliant and there were no negative effects whatsoever- and Eddie begins o gain enemies- one strange looking man who later turns out to be an absolutely terrifying, knife-wielding maniac. Another Eastern European drug dealer also has it out for Eddie and with the new events of the drug actually causing the addicted to get ill or dead, Eddie must manage to wean off the drugs and fight off the competition all at the same time. The film ends happily, obviously, with a few questions as to whether Eddie has managed to kick the drugs or the drugs hold over him, but overall I think the film is well worth a watch. It shows money, productivity and success as key motivators for all different types of humans and the highs and lows of how to get there. For drugs users, there are many scenes in which you can empathise and understand, all cleverly shown through the directors use of camerawork- manipulating the screen to make it move trippily, the vivid colours and the soundtrack that make an incredibly enjoyable film.

Which leaves me with the question- if you take the drug NTZ, you have the world at your fingertips. You could run for president. You could create a business. You could be an artist, write a book. What would you do?