“I’m Working On Something Now, Something So New That The World Will Never Be The Same…”
Filmed and completed almost two whole years ago, with the original release date back in 2017 shelved following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal and the subsequent MeToo movement, The Current War finally hits the big screen after being acquired and released by Lantern Entertainment, an American film studio who purchased all assets owned by The Weinstein Company as the disgraced company fell into liquidation following their owner’s high profile fall from grace. Directed by Texas-born filmmaker, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, whose previous works include the overly kooky, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, and directorial credits on both episodes of Glee and American Horror Story, The Current War attempts to dramatise the titular battle fought by both Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse during the latter stages of the nineteenth century, as each attempt to outwit each other and become the leading light of electrical power across the globe. With very little background noise or press following closely behind it, it seems fair to say that The Current War is the kind of movie which Lantern Entertainment feel the need to let loose just for the sake of it, with the main goal of course being to recoup a slender amount of financial reward after the cost to make it, yet much in the same way Billionaire Boys Club came and went like a fart in the wind after the similarly troubling Kevin Spacey allegations, Gomez-Rejon’s movie feels rather icky and strangely enough for a film without electrical power, staggeringly lifeless.
Central to the film’s array of issues is its’ central narrative, one based upon a screenplay from American playwright, Michael Mitnick, who seems to have been catching up on the back catalogue of Christopher Nolan by producing what can only be described as a monumental bore of a story, a cheap, Nolanized knock-off which attempts to recreate the fast-paced, engaging storytelling Nolan does so well, yet forgetting to include any sort of pace or engaging, meaty plot whatsoever, resulting in the cardinal sin of watch checking only five minutes in. With the film clocking in and just under two hours, it’s fair to say that The Current War only works as a medicinal prescription for prolonged sleep deprivation, a laborious, yawn-inducing borefest which wastes good acting talent including the likes of Michael Shannon, Tom Holland and Katherine Waterston, whilst reasserting the notion that Benedict Cumberbatch is quickly becoming the most typecast actor in the acting business today, with another leading role which leans heavy on the intelligent, sarcastic know-it-all characteristic and less on the sympathetic nice guy, akin to other historical figures the Brit has played in the likes of The Fifth Estate and The Imitation Game. Add into the mix woozy, sanctimonious camera work from Chung Chung-hoon who seems to think he’s the reincarnation of Kubrick alongside simply awful time-hopping editing and The Current War is the first movie in a good while to be so awfully dull, I began to worry for the future of cinema as we know it.
Overall Score: 3/10
“Bruce Is The Direct Line To All That’s True In This Shitty World…”
Winning the award for least surprising “secret” screening as introduced by your local Cineworld earlier in the month, Blinded by the Light is the type of a-typical, good natured crowd-pleaser which Cineworld members have come to expect in recent times from the sporadic and hotly anticipated hidden previews such a cinema chain bowls out from time to time, with the likes of The Hate U Give and Green Book from previous secret screenings following along the likes of movies which sort of tick all the boxes for a lay audience member without clearly offending anyone in this very multicultural and diverse contemporary society of ours today. Written and directed by Kenyan-born filmmaker, Gurinder Chadha, whose most famous flicks so far include Bend It Like Beckham and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, Blinded by the Light is a similarly independently British romantic comedy drama which just happens to have a central character with a film-selling addiction to The Boss himself, one Mr. Bruce Springsteen, and whilst there are undoubtedly worst addictions to have a film based upon, Chadha’s movie is a wildly inconsistent but passably enjoyable work of fluff which takes its’ Springsteen licensing levels to new extremes.
Utilising big-screen debutant, Viveik Kalra, in the lead role of Javed, and set within the turbulent political and culturally manic period of late 1980’s Britain, Chadha’s movie sees her leading star begin at a familial and social crossroads, with Javed at the centre of a divide between both his overly religious Pakistani family and the racial tensions apparent in the outside world, all of which are hindering his dreams of becoming an important literary voice on the issues of the world in which he lives. Cue an introduction to the back catalogue of New Jersey’s own rock and roll legend, Bruce Springsteen, and soon the musical segments come a-knocking, transforming the movie from a low-key, soap opera, dodgy acting and all, to a full on sing-a-thon gateway, with choreographed set pieces in the ilk of Rocketman all bowing down to the radical words of The Boss as our hero falls in love, impresses Hayley Atwell’s overly-attractive English teacher and then decides to stalk Mr. Springsteen forevermore, all the whilst racist marches take place in the background. With the movie featuring more ideas than it can practically handle, it’s no surprise really that a lack of focus on any result in it being the movie equivalent of Jackson Pollock painting, and even though I’m a sucker in some ways for the joyous celebration of rock music, Chadha’s movie is perfectly fine, but boy is it a mess.
Overall Score: 5/10
“There Are Moments In A Rock Star’s Life That Define Who He Is. Where There Is Darkness There Is Now You, And It’s Going To Be A Wild Ride…”
Coming only months after the Academy Award for Best Actor was wrongly handed to Rami Malek for his often caricature laden and mime heavy portrayal of one of rock’s greatest singers in Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Elton John now finds its’ way onto the big screen within Rocketman, a swear and drug heavy musical biopic which sees Taron Egerton (Robin Hood) take on the leading role for a movie which thankfully shows audiences what a decent biographical drama should look like. Directed by actor-turned-director, Dexter Fletcher, who ironically was handed the mantle of completing Bohemian Rhapsody after original director, Bryan Singer, was sacked for particular unruly pastimes, the London born filmmaker brings to life a joyous, often dazzling, celebration of rock and roll’s most loveable figure, one which blends musical arrangements with a hard-nosed examination of the rough edges of John’s early musical career, and with a whole double sided LP of top notch performances, Rocketman is a thoroughly engaging and satisfying burst of nostalgia which comes ever so close to being a work of excellence.
With Egerton in recent years attempting to throw his once promising career into the garbage with back-to-back works of sheer awfulness in the form of Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Robin Hood, Fletcher reunites with the star after their work together on Eddie the Eagle and allows the young Brit to completely immerse himself in the character of John, a career best performance which perfectly captures the inner insecurities brought on by his sexual ambiguity and non-existent relationship with both his holier-than-thou mother and absent, war-torn father. With the central performance nailed, the screenplay also allows Jamie Bell (Filth) to shine as long-term songwriting compatriot, Bernie Taupin, alongside stand-out supporting roles from the likes of Stephen Graham (Line of Duty) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) as John’s unbelievably self-obsessed mother, and with the narrative itself played back in almost dream like fashion, this allows the movie to indulge itself in dramatic absurdities as it crosses paths between A Star is Born and La La Land as we are treated to excellently choreographed set pieces which tweak the most famous of John’s back catalogue in order to expand upon his youthful endeavours. Whilst the movie is at least twenty five minutes too long and fails to maintain its’ wondrous sensibility throughout, Rocketman is a lavish and extreme work of musical delirium which will suit both Elton John obsessives and those somehow unaware of his music alike.
Overall Score: 7/10
“It’s A Story About Journeys, The Journeys We Take To Prove Ourselves. It’s About Adventures…”
If Led Zeppelin arguably brought The Lord of the Rings to the big screen by mixing the fantastical mythology of Tolkien with good old fashioned rock and roll, then in a roundabout sort of way, we can all thank the South African born writer for influencing the greatest band of all time in the first place, and whilst there is unsurprisingly a significant lack of Robert Plant or Jimmy Page in the aptly named, Tolkien, this week, such a film would have actually suitably benefitted from the rock god wails of the latter or the chunky, heavy guitar riffs of the former. Directed by Finnish filmmaker, Dome Karukoski, the early life of J. R. R Tolkien marks his first venture into English language film, and whilst the experiences of one of the world’s most revered writers makes some sort of sense to be idolised in a cinematic capacity, Tolkien unfortunately fails to hold a candle to the incredible life of the titular war hero, a movie filled to the brim with many interesting ideas but one which ultimately fails to balance the weight of them effectively enough to be labelled a success, resulting in a jumbled mess of a drama which can’t make the executive decision to stay on one set path and thus annoyingly becomes stranded in no man’s land in a last ditch attempt to bring some sort of memorability to proceedings. Unfortunately for Karukoski and co, Tolkien is anything but memorable.
Planting the youthful, straight-headed figure of Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) in the leading role, Karukoski’s movie begins proceedings by placing Tolkien in the heart of battle as he attempts to survive the disease and blood-ridden wastelands of trench warfare during the Battle of the Somme, and whilst the film’s trailers promised an intriguing blend of fantasy and biographical drama, the constant transition and wavering throughout Tolkien’s own early life chapters means that the movie can never really set its’ mind on what it ultimately wants to be. With the drama setting up early moments of loss and hardship as we witness the Tolkien brothers move into the confines of adoption, we are soon introduced to both fellow members of the Tolkien coined Tea Club and Barrovian Society and fellow orphan, Edith Bratt, as played by the wonderfully talented Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply) who continues to evoke her inner Audrey Hepburn with the best performance in the movie, one which radiates beauty and undeniable charm. Annoyingly however, the film takes these two differing subplots and puts them to battle against each other, and as we move through elements of coming-of-age style drama, romance and war, Tolkien doesn’t expand on any enough effectively to leave you feeling adequately rewarded, and add into the mix a yawn-inducing pace and a complete editorial nightmare, Karukoski’s movie is unfortunately not enjoyable enough as a standalone biographical drama or pleasing enough for those after an insight into anything The Hobbit related, and even with the excellence of Collins in one of the leading roles, Tolkien is unfortunately an opportunity missed.
Overall Score: 5/10
“You’ve Got A Unique Sound And We Believe We Can Help You Get It Released By A Major Label…”
Whilst not at all a film about the origins of the infamous menthol lozenges which just happen to share a similar title, Fisherman’s Friends instead brings to the big screen the miraculous rise to fame of the Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friends, the ale-loving, overly traditionalist band of male singers who broke into the UK music charts back in 2010. Directed by British filmmaker, Chris Foggin, in his second big screen release after 2016’s Kids in Love starring Will Poulter, Fisherman’s Friends takes a rather BBC Two approach to a story which airs on the side of cheesy as we see Daniel Mays (The Limehouse Golem) as Danny, an influential and respected music mogul who after venturing on a stag do down to sunny Cornwall with his friends and seedy boss, Troy, as played by Doctor Who legend, Noel Clarke, is asked to sign to his label the local singing group led by the gruff figure of James Purefoy’s (Altered Carbon) Jim. Falling somewhere between the annoying flatness of The Aftermath and the well executed splendour of Colette, Fisherman’s Friends is the type of film which feels nicely planted in the background of an afternoon tea, and whilst films of similar ilk aren’t necessarily entirely bad, they do beg the question why the feel the need to be up on the big screen in the first place.
Shot with the same kind of televisual aesthetic you’d get from an episode of Countryfile, Fisherman’s Friends ticks all the boxes you sort of expect when heading into a movie based on what pretty much is Cornwall’s answer to Led Zeppelin, and with a cheerful, ludicrously mood-inducing soundtrack which wouldn’t seem amiss on a jukebox for the near-dead, Foggin’s movie absolutely reeks of cliche and gag-inducing corniess from the offset. With Mays offering the sort of semi-likeable, leather jacket toting lead performance as he blunders his way through the smell of salt water and seagulls, the real standout of the piece is undoubtedly Purefoy, who superbly radiates a sense of internal conflict as he balances new found fame with the responsibilities of a life both inland and on the fair seas, and with the interactions between the group in general pretty well handled, it’s sort of a shame that all of the top-end jokes were spoiled in the trailers, resulting in a resounding silence as everyone else laughed in the cinema apart from me when they inevitably arrived. Topping up just under two hours, it’s no surprise that the movie does become an absolute drag as it finally arrives at its destination without harming anyone at all in the process, Fisherman’s Friends isn’t exactly bad, it’s just A Star is Born for the Cornish minus all the good parts and a film more than suitable for your bed-ridden aunt. Bring the tea and biscuits.
Overall Score: 5/10
“Good Morning, Wrestling Nerds. This Is Where We See Whether Or Not You Get To Go On The WWE…”
With an absolute absence of knowledge pertaining to anything slightly resembling the world of wrestling, with my own views regarding the slightly absurd money making machine something of which I might just keep restrained for this particular review, it’s fair to say that Fighting With My Family is the type of rags-to-riches true story which from an outsiders point of view, would have to spoon feed me the rise of Saraya “Paige” Bevis, the Norwich born, heavy metal loving hard-ass who became the youngest wrestling champion ever at the age of twenty one. Written and directed by the immediately recognisable figure of Stephen Merchant (The Office, Logan) and backed financially by WWE Studios, whos previous endeavours include erm, The Scorpion King and Leprechaun: Origins to name a few, Fighting With My Family takes the cliched, formulaic approach to bringing the story of Paige to the big screen, and whilst such genre conventions force the underlying narrative to be more than overly predictable, even for someone without knowing the wrestling back story heading in, Merchant’s movie succeeds due to other elements elsewhere, with warm, interesting characters and a charming, likeable sensibility pushing his movie into what can only be regarded as just a damn fine, if overly cheesy, time at the flicks.
With the superbly talented Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) taking the leading role as Paige, her iconic accent and emo-inflicted personality immediately offers an element of depth thanks to a central performance which manages to completely immerse you in the journey she undertakes from the rocky roads of Norfolk to the absurdity of the big stage in the sun soaked shores of America. Whilst the film revels in portraying the ills of a Rocky style training camp and the drill sergeant-esque manner from a rather finely tuned supporting performance from Vince Vaughn (Brawl in Cell Block 99) as Paige’s talent scout and mentor, Merchant never seems to forget the core family unit which Paige leaves behind back home, and whilst Pugh is undoubtedly the leading star, the screenplay also balances the effect her newly found fame has on her brother, Zak, as portrayed by Jack Lowden (Dunkirk) whose dreams of capturing the world’s imagination on the biggest platform available are soon crushed as he watches his younger sibling take the road to stardom instead. With scene stealing supporting comedic roles from the always reliable Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Fighting With My Family of course oozes saccharin sweetness and cheesy sentimentality, but when a film is made with enough heart and soul to bypass such flaws, the end result is and hour and forty minutes of good old fashioned lovey-dovey entertainment, even with some rather egoistic cameos from Dwayne Johnson.
Overall Score: 7/10
“It Has Been My Honor To Be Your Servant. You Chose Me. And I Did What You Asked…”
Reuniting the rather excellent filmmaking team behind 2016’s The Big Short, Vice, brings to the big screen a rather scathing, politically one-sided depiction of the rise and fall of one of America’s most infamous contemporary political figureheads, Dick Cheney, the Nebraskan born figure of ruthlessness who during the course of almost three decades rose to great prominence within the White House, eventually earning the title of the most powerful vice president in history in his time within the rather controversial Bush presidency at the turn of the twentieth century. Directed by Adam McKay, whose success with The Big Short seems to have thankfully pushed him away from the laddish cringiness of the likes of Step Brothers forevermore, Vice follows a very familial cinematic layout to the Oscar winning drama by essentially portraying a contemporary and highly controversial issue with a balance of both black comedy and seriousness, one led by the seemingly interchangeable figure of Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) who once again goes full-on The Machinist, albeit in reverse, by utilising the skills of prosthetics and his local takeaway in order to pull off a rather outstanding central performance in what is a considerably flashy ensemble acting piece. Slapped with a guarantee to inflame and provoke immediate discussion on both sides of the political fence, Vice is an explicit, highly intriguing, and at times, genuinely terrifying, depiction of modern politics in action which continues the notion that when handed the right material, McKay can truly be a standout figure of importance within the world of issue-based cinema.
Beginning with the successful rise of Christian Bale’s Cheney as he quickly progresses from drunken college dropout to falling under the wing of Steve Carell’s (Beautiful Boy) charismatic and wickedly devious, Donald Rumsfeld, McKay’s movie utilises the opening chapters in order to establish the unbreakable relationship within the Cheney household, with Amy Adams’ (Arrival) Lynne equally as power hungry as her aspiring husband, albeit burdened by her understanding of the limitations of her gender in the world of American politics. With it absolutely impossible to fit in every single point of interest within Cheney’s alarmingly elongated career, the central narrative of the movie begins and ends with the events of 9/11, a time in which Cheney’s tunnel vision for power is most clearly represented, and whilst at times the movie seems to disregard levels of depth for characters who seem to come and go, it comes at no surprise that those already slightly invested in such a crucial time in American politics may feel the ride much easier than those with absolutely zero interest or awareness of the events which occurred at the start of the twenty first century. Being part of the latter, the chance to witness Sam Rockwell portray (Three Billboards) George W. Bush as a drunken, easily led simpleton is almost too delicious to turn down, even when the film refuses to hold back in reminding the audience of the terrifying devastation at the heart of his particular tenure as President.
Whilst comparisons to The Big Short are obviously rather inevitable in terms of the storytelling, the most obvious and in-your-face connection between the two movies is of course the flashy, quickfire editing technique which McKay utilises so heavy in order to convey the many ideas floating around his head onto the big screen. With almost an uncanny sense of being handed subliminal messaging at times, the storytelling is constantly intercut with random segments of imagery and seemingly relevant newsreel footage which are used to reinforce the overarching political standing at the heart of the movie. With Jesse Plemons (Game Night) this time handed the reigns as narrator, Vice surprisingly never seems gimmicky or too confusing, with the constant editing shifts actually balancing the rather heavy and hectic central plot involving political jargon and offers a somewhat release and breakaway from characters who at the end of the day, are all downright slimey and evil to their core. With Bale supplying the archetypal, Marlon Brando-esque sense of commitment to the lead role of Cheney, Vice supplies the platform for yet another awards touted performance full of grandiose presence, even when the real life Cheney himself was renowned for being something of a introverted, slightly muted charisma vacuum. Whilst I was always destined to admire a piece of work with a political standpoint which pretty much aligns with my own when it comes to the downright illegal doings of one of the most infamous presidencies in history, Vice crucially did not disappoint and managed to handle the difficult subject matter with relative ease, supplying an excellent follow up to The Big Short and getting me excited for whatever Team McKay decide to do next.
Overall Score: 8/10
“My Name Is Gabrielle Colette And The Hand That Holds The Pen Writes History…”
Touted as a rousing return to form for Keira Knightley after the critical massacre of Collateral Beauty, Colette, directed by British filmmaker, Wash Westmoreland, a Leeds-born artist most famous for the Academy Award winning drama, Still Alice, back in 2014, brings to the big screen the life of French writer and actress, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, who at the beginning of the twentieth century and under the guise of her husband’s pen name, seemingly changed the face of French literature forever, bringing into the public eye a world of fascination and intrigue which even in the twenty first century still feels undoubtedly relevant and contemporary. For a movie which in one of its’ very opening scenes feels brave enough to contain a particularly scabrous monologue regarding the inability to leave the theatre even when what is occurring on stage is of a particularly awful pedigree, such a bookmark would be the easy fallback if Colette itself fell into the same category of mediocrity, yet with equally superb performances from central the pairing of Knightley and Dominic West (The Wire), beautiful set designs and a refreshing indifferent and laid back approach to the varying underlying themes within the narrative, Westmoreland’s latest is a fulfilling and gorgeously fascinating depiction of an historical icon and a movie which feels almost too timely considering the current societal climate.
Featuring a screenplay from the combined writing talents of Westmoreland himself, Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida) and Richard Glatzer, the previous spouse and collaborator of Westmoreland who tragically passed away back in 2015, Colette both embraces the traditions of a period drama piece with the expected levels of authenticity and attention to detail whilst also attempting to cripple the cliches attached to the genre with as much empowering and radical ideas as its’ leading heroine’s effect on the world of literature. With the humble beginnings of Knightley’s titular youthful country girl portraying her as a doe-eyed, slightly innocent dreamer, her character immediately becomes hooked under the spell of Dominic West’s growling, moustache bearing, Henry, a well regarded author and critic who utilises the pen name “Willy” in his Parisian homeland and who slowly begins to publish his wife’s tales of “Claudine” under his own name, resulting in sudden fame, fortune and rapturous acclaim. Whilst it could have been easy for Colette to jump on the #MeToo bandwagon in regards to film’s underlying theme regarding the exploitation of power in regards to gender, Westmoreland’s film refreshingly approaches such notions with expert delicacy, and whilst there are definite moments of dramatic female empowerment, the movie never felt preachy or sanctimonious, instead treating wandering sexual orientations and gender fluidity with a degree of nonchalance which really impressed. Whilst the film as a whole could have done with at least twenty minutes knocked off the final runtime, Colette is a movie which held a point, presented it magnificently and left you wondering where on earth the real Keira Knightley has been for the past however many years.
Overall Score: 7/10
“You’re Not Leaving, Are You, Stan? The Show Must Go On…”
Directed by Scottish filmmaker, Jon S. Baird, perhaps most famous for bringing Irvine Welsh’s scorchingly jet black comedy, Filth, to the big screen back in 2013, Stan and Ollie very much steps in the complete opposite direction, with Baird’s latest a surprisingly low key and slightly muted biographical drama focusing on the later lives of both Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy as played by Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge) and John C. Reilly (We Need To Talk About Kevin) respectively. Based on a screenplay from Jeff Pope who reunites with Coogan after their work together on the Bafta winning, Philomena, Baird’s latest primarily drops the audience into the tail end of the legendary comedy duos’ career, one previously stuffed with fame, fortune and rapturous critical plaudits but which has now seemingly fizzled out, resulting in the middle aged stars returning to the shores of the UK in order to secure the finances for a potential big screen project. With a central screenplay which chooses to rely primarily on the central relationship between the two stars, Stan and Ollie is a charming yet frustrating movie, one which works on the strength of its’ leading performers but ultimately feels significantly flat in its’ storytelling approach, resulting in a movie which fails to ever feel cinematic and would probably be better served on the small screen rather than in a multiplex where it may fail to garner significant audience interest.
With Pope’s screenplay relatively straightforward and simple, to the extent that the movie almost felt as if it could have been made in the era of its’ leading characters, the neutral sensibility of the movie does ultimately lack any real push, flash or energy to propel the movie into another gear, and in comparison to the likes of other biographical dramas which focus on central historical figures much less charismatic and well known than the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Baird’s movie does ultimately feel somewhat of a missed opportunity when examining the piece as a whole. Where the film does ultimately work however is in the strengths of particular building blocks which make up the final piece, with none more so than the central superbly cast pairing of Coogan and Reilly who embrace the sweaty, exhausting lifestyles of men attempting to revamp their careers after decades of excessive levels of fame. With Coogan slightly more reserved in his comedic output in comparison to his previous on-screen roles, the tender balance between himself and the prosthetics heavy Reilly relies on a level of substance and depth which is completely absent from any other character relationships within the movie, particularly that of the criminally wasted female characters including the wonderful Shirley Henderson. With the best parts of the movie undoubtedly the pair’s reenactment of particular famous Laurel and Hardy sketches, it goes without saying that when a film seems stretched even with a ninety minute runtime, something seems to have been lost in translation, but with the beaming smiles of Coogan and Reilly to help you through to the end, Stan and Ollie is good enough, just not as spectacular and memorable as its’ central iconic subjects.
Overall Score: 6/10
“We Are Going To Do Great Things. It’s An Experience. Love, Tragedy, Joy. It’s Something That People Will Feel Belongs To Them…”
Stricken with a long history of production issues and endless failed attempts at bringing the story of rock music’s most flamboyant and talented rock vocalist to the big screen, Bohemian Rhapsody finally brings the life of the one and only Freddie Mercury to cinematic fruition, utilising the skills of Mr. Robot star, Rami Malek, in the lead role within a musical biopic which portrays the rising fame and fortune of Mercury’s involvement with Queen and the subsequent troubles and tribulations which occurred both in-house between the band members and the much publicised issues present within Mercury’s own personal life. Primarily directed by Bryan Singer, the mega-mind behind the best entries within the live action X-Men franchise, yet completed by Dexter Fletcher, director of the upcoming of Elton John biopic, due to Singer famously leaving the project after a wide range of reported unprofessional discrepancies, Bohemian Rhapsody is as overblown, cheesy and undeniably likable as the subject band themselves, a biopic which although sacrifices deep levels of substance for karaoke pleasures and cringe-inducing, fan pleasing nods and knowing gag, still remains entirely watchable, a movie which will undoubtedly serve long-standing fans of the band’s music more than those coming to the movie hoping for a scalpel-like incision of one of rock music’s most studied and iconic figures of the past fifty years.
Much in the way Straight Outta Compton was led entirely, particular in the narrative sense, by the remaining members of N.W.A in return for complete back catalogue access and musical rights, an executive decision resulting in particular audiences commenting on slight historical issues involving domestic and drug abuse being slightly paved over in favour of the glamour and fame of musical stardom, Bohemian Rhapsody strangely follows suit, utilising the combined forces of Brian Many and Roger Taylor in the producing roles to focus the story on a depiction of Queen arguing about record labels, song titles and how much of a wet flannel John Deacon seemed to be instead of completely focusing on the figure of Mercury as he rises from baggage collector to international star within only a couple of riotous musical years. With the majority of the paying audience who will rock up to see Bohemian Rhapsody already well aware of Mercury’s sexuality and subsequent life-ending illness, Singer’s movie does feel slightly underwhelming in attempting to delve deeper into Mercury’s personal life, particularly when considering the dedication put into the role by Malek, whose performance is worth the entry fee alone with him managing to pull off the physicality and likeness of Mercury with a sense of coolness and ease. With the musical soundtrack obviously whipping out corker after corker and the stunningly crafted conclusion leaving audiences begging for more, Bohemian Rhapsody is a solid enough musical biopic which although offers nothing new to die-hard Queen fans already well versed in the history of their fallen hero, will satisfy the mass majority of popcorn eaters simply because of the fact that everyone loves Queen. Get on your bikes and ride…