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Bohemian Rhapsody

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Bohemian Rhapsody, whilst a competent chronology of rock band Queen's meteoric rise, is also the story of one man's struggle with his constructed self and his pursuit of authenticity. Freddie Mercury is played spectacularly in every sense by Rami Malek, who gives a mesmerising performance, lifting the film from low impact to high energy.

Band members are well acted by Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon and Gwylim Lee as Bryan May. The latter two are look-a-likes in appearance and manner, but their performances are appropriately understated.

Mercury's relationship with almost-wife Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) is shown to be the only one in which Mercury finds his authentic self. The enduring nature of their attachment, celebrated in the song 'Love of My Life', contrasts with the other relationships depicted. In particular, Mercury's narcissism threatens to alienate the other band members. There is little sentiment - scenes with Mary being the exception - yet central to the film is a tangible poignancy.

Mercury's conflicted isolation, whilst occasionally picked up by the script through conversations with Mary, and Mercury's long-term partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker), is demonstrated by the superb cinematography of Thomas Sigel. Many times during the film Mercury appears in doorways, an image of self framed in dilemma. Queen's wildly extravagant performances are sensitively intercut with personal scenes as the frontman begins to own his sexuality.

The narratives of the band's rise and Mercury's own journey are skilfully interwoven. At the heart of both are themes of diversity and authenticity. 'Finding yourself' as a performer is ultimately easier than in private life.

The Live Aid concert, diligently copied by cast and camera from footage, has an excitement that brings complex tensions to a finale of joyous redemption.

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