Musical biopics are a surefire way to guarantee your film has an audience and/or Oscar potential.
Walk the Line, La Vie en Rose and What’s Love Got to Do with It all attracted Academy Award recognition for their stories on Johnny Cash and June Carter, Edith Piaf and Ike and Tina Turner.
Stellar leading performances are at the forefront of these films. Bohemian Rhapsody is no exception.
The new Queen biopic – primarily a Freddie Mercury film – is anchored by the transformative performance of leading man Rami Malek.
The Mr Robot star inhabits the famed frontman and disappears into the character with the type of ease we expect of Daniel Day-Lewis.
The film chronicles Queen’s rise from struggling pub band to the biggest group in the world.
If you had forgotten just how many fantastic songs the band had, Bohemian Rhapsody will remind you.
Apart from the title track, audiences can sing along to Killer Queen, Another One Bites the Dust, I Want to Break Free, We Will Rock You and more. Subduing the urge to sing along will prove futile.
The film imbues each performance with so must gusto and good vibes that the whole cinema will undoubtedly be rocking out.
But Bohemian Rhapsody also deals with the complexities of being Freddie Mercury. It covers Mercury’s desperation to please his conservative parents, his discovery and acceptance of his sexuality and the revelation that he has AIDS.
The film also delves into Mercury’s relationships with the band members – Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) – manager Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) and former fiancee Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton).
Bohemian Rhapsody is a hell of a good time and a fascinating – if somewhat sugar-coated – glimpse into the life of one of the 20th century’s most larger than life performers.
The finished product shows no sign of the myriad of production drams that went on behind the scenes – from years in development (with Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw attached to star at various times) to poor behaviour on-set which led to director Brian Singer being fired and replaced with Dexter Fletcher.