Substantive biopic, or little silhouette of a docudrama sporting performances by a Queen tribute band? As frontman Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek’s ability to outdistance the Nutty Professor bucks and Planet of the Apes shag is a testament to his charisma. Alas, almost from the start the project seemed ill-omened. It’s not every day when a director, in this case X-Men mimeographer Bryan Singer, is let go part way through production due to chronic tardiness. (He was replaced by HBO veteran Dexter Fletcher, who shot for 16 days, oversaw post-production, and failed to receive a co-directing credit). Then there’s screenwriter Anthony McCarten, working overtime to run the more sordid aspects of the Mercury’s life through a PG-13 denaturizer. (Kindly check the camera at the door once Mercury has followed the burly trucker into the gas station lavatory.) And I don’t care if Mike Myers was half of Wayne’s World: bang the “Gong!” for yet another latexed takeoff on a British showbiz sycophant.
Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes