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'Fifty Shades' star Jamie Dornan was a better ladykiller in 'The Fall'

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So, you like to watch a handsome, shirtless Jamie Dornan do the whole torture thing? Well, then, we’ve got the perfect drama for you—and it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey.

If you want to see Dornan gag women, tie them up, bathe them by candlelight, and cause them grievous bodily harm, you’re better off watching the first season of the BBC’s gripping thriller The Fall. (Catch up on Netflix before season two airs. The trailer premiered yesterday, just in time for 50 Shades madness.) The Fall is a suspenseful and scary thriller, and, unlike Fifty Shades, it’s honest about the slippery entertainment appeal of violence against women.

Dornan plays Paul Spector, a doting father and loving husband who also happens to be a really hot serial killer. Where the 50 Shades trailer makes sadism look aspirational—just let him hurt you, ladies, and you can have it all, the Nicholas Sparks romance, the fashion-mag clothes, and rides in fancy, phallus-shaped planes!—The Fall shows that glamorizing male sexual power over women can also be dangerous. “I was at pains from the start to make sure that there was nothing gratuitous or exploitative in the drama,” its creator, Alan Cubitt, told the Guardian last year. “Sexual killers eroticize violence, power and death, so it’s a challenging line to walk.”

Half of The Fall‘s story is told from Paul’s point of view (we’ll get to the other half in a second), and he’s definitely a voyeur. (His last name, Spector, even hints that he likes to watch.) So it’s necessary that there’s an element of voyeurism in the way the show frames his murders: The victims are young, beautiful, and often left naked on their beds. Their deaths are gorgeously shot, with romantic lighting and tasteful make-up. Paul even bathes his victims and paints their nails before he leaves them. But this isn’t the straight-forward S&M glamor that 50 Shades trades in. It’s all part of the drama’s plan to implicate its viewers in the same objectification of women that excites Paul. And that’s a fair thing to do: Viewers are tuning in to watch a show about a literal lady-killer, aren’t they? READ FULL STORY

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