Cert: 12A; Now showing
Director Bryan Singer’s much-anticipated Freddie Mercury/queen biopic is finally here and it is worth all that anticipation. Mercury and Queen fans should be happy, but the story and its energy and soundtrack will have broad appeal. Rami Malek shines as the frontman, giving a portrayal of an, ahem, mercurial lead singer, giving light to a fairly straightforward story.
The film opens with Mercury (Malek) walking on stage for Live Aid in 1985, a moment that was to prove a zenith in an extraordinary career. It goes back immediately to 1970 and the then Farrokh Bulsara heading out to a gig by a band, then called Smile. It’s to prove a major night, for he first meets Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), the woman who would remain a mainstay in his life, before landing the job as lead singer for Smile. He joins Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and Brian May (Gwilym Lee) on the same night as John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) does and an important chapter in music history begins.
The film covers the band’s trajectory under manager John Reid (Aidan Gillen) and lawyer Jim ‘Mi- ami’ Beach (Tom Hollander), there’s a nice piece of casting with Mike Myers as Ray Foster, the record company boss who rejects Bohemian Rhapsody (remember the Borhap scene in Wayne’s World?). It looks at Mercury’s relationship with Belfast man Paul Prenter (Allen Leech), his sexuality, his solo career and relationship with Dubliner Jim Hutton (Aaron Mccusker) and comes back full circle to Live Aid. In a nice touch it plays the full set. It covers a lot of ground in its 134 minute run time, but never feels too long. A good story, well told, and you know more Queen songs than you thought you did!