Bo­hemian Rhap­sody

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

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!

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