2 hr. 15 min. | Rated M | Offensive language, sexual references and drug
Starring: Rami Malek, Allen Leech, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joe Mazzello, Aaron McCusker
In a year when musicals have ruled cinema, this supersonic biopic of Freddie Mercury allows rock band Queen to claim their rightful crown as the champions of the box office.
Sympathetic, moving, funny and filled with some of the greatest rock anthems ever recorded, we see Freddie's rise from airport luggage handler to global superstar.
As the band's outrageous and supremely gifted vocalist, he wants to break free of his traditional family in order to define his flamboyant outward persona, but then struggles to inwardly accept himself.
Though the film steers away from showing anything graphic, Freddie's rockstar party life leads to his being diagnosed with AIDS, the disease which would kill him at 45 years old.
The show-stopping finale is 1985's famous Wembley charity gig, Live Aid, which becomes a redemptively poignant, rousing, climactic celebration of Freddie's incredible power as a performer.
Rami Malek is tremendous as Freddie, and who cares if the American-Egyptian doesn't particularly look like the Parsee Indian Brit, he absolutely captures the essence of the man as we'd like to remember him, dynamic, creative, outrageous and a world class crowd-pleasing frontman.
With the actors miming to the bands actual recordings such as Somebody To Love, Queen's chart-topping and lengthy back catalogue supercharges the script, and it's worth the ticket price to hear the soundtrack, which rockets through their best-selling greatest hits album.
The majestic title track is the first song I can remember hearing that wasn't a church hymn, and the scenes of its chaotic recording imbue the song with layers of meaning, an artful trick used repeatedly on songs such as, Don't Stop Me Now, and Love of My Life.
Band members, Brian May and Roger Taylor are executive-producers, and you might expect more of a contribution from their characters. Efforts are made to emphasise their contribution to the group, but even in their own band they were always the supporting act.
It's a kind of magic this film is as great as it is, after the original director, Bryan Singer, was sacked with two weeks of filming to go.