Executive producer Dexter Fletcher stepped in to complete Bohemian Rhapsody after Fox relieved chronic no-show Bryan Singer of his directorial duties. Next up on Fletcher’s rhapsodical Bohemian biopic docket: Sir Elton John (played with assurance by Taron Egerton). What with our subject still alive and kicking, the AA meeting that opened the picture gave rise to fears that a two hour PSA lay ahead. Good news: sanitized though it may be, Fletcher was more interested in fashioning a structured musical fantasy than a biopic interposed with simulated concert footage. John’s appearance in Tommy is never cited, but the bravado Fletcher brings to the Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting number echos Ken Russell’s sweep and swagger. Familiar family tropes — stony dad (he sweats hailstones), venting mom, loving granny — play out with one-note predictability. And the fantasy AA meeting that bookends the production is forced, like a Charlie Chan programmer in which all of the major players assemble in one room to resolve the mystery of John’s flamboyance. But somewhere between the two meetings lurks 40 minutes of solid musical splendor.
Length: 2 hours, 1 minute