Freddie Mercury was always a larger than life character, and in Bohemian Rhapsody, american Rami Malek totally inhabits him, bringing him back to life in an uncanny fashion. Whilst it is true that the false teeth are rather distracting – they seem unnecessarily large – they also apparently allowed Malek the freedom to create his version of Mercury – to improve his posture and strut and stamp and try to show the world who the man really was. He certainly exudes the charisma. At the end of the day, the film is about loneliness and wanting to belong, and Queen were the closest thing to family that he had. Mary Austin, played sensitively by Lucy Boynton, his first love and long-term friend, and his cats, created a sense of home but it was based on lies about a conventional family life that Mercury thought he wanted to live. Eventually, as he began to acknowledge his sexuality, his partners started to take advantage of his celebrity. The focus of Bohemian Rhapsody is squarely on Mercury. Brian May and Roger Taylor, excellently portrayed by Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy, as well as John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) are rarely seen alone on screen, and their extended lives beyond the band are only really acknowledged through Malek’s poignant dialogue. And yes, ultimately it’s a drama, but there is some incidental fun to be had, watching the band develop, and of course, a priceless cameo of Mike Myers as Ray Foster, a music mogul
Its slightly shambolic structure is down to the presence, or lack of, of the director, Bryan Singer, who is credited, but was not around for the last few weeks of the shoot, and Dexter Fletcher stepped into the breach to finish the film. But at the end of the day, it’s still a toe-tapping piece of entertainment, surprisingly moving in parts, and an audience of a certain age will certainly enjoy re-living the glorious moments of Live Aid at a recreated Wembley Stadium. But the teens will go for this too. This is Queen from its young band days, starting out and as far away from a manufactured X-factor style band as you can get. And with every song I regret the fact that I never saw them perform live.