George Michael Freedom Uncut
Filmed before the Faith singer’s death in 2016, George Michael Freedom Uncut is being pushed as the artist’s final piece of work. In this regard, this music documentary holds some significance within Michael’s legacy, as it covers his astronomical rise to fame, tragic first love and the court dispute with his record label. However, with the biopic helmed by Michael, this documentary comes across as more of a glossy vanity project than the reflective retrospective it presents itself to be.
Freedom Uncut doesn’t give the best first impression. Opening with two back-to-back title sequences as Michael begins to write up his narration on a typewriter (his back facing the camera), the film has an air of corniness commonly seen in those made-for-television music docs that fill out the schedules of music channels. This is the tone that runs throughout the rest of this almost two-hour-long feature. Celebrity talking heads spit out soundbite platitudes that praise the Wham! frontman’s talent and artistic vision. Former collaborators like Stevie Wonder and Elton John, alongside the models who famously featured in the Freedom music video, make sense. However, appearances from Ricky Gervais and James Corden are confoundingly out of place.
The film does a great job of talking about Michael’s professional accomplishments. The documentary essentially serves as a feature-length highlight reel of his career. What the film is terrible at is elaborating on why these accomplishments were important. There’s no attempt to discuss the songwriter’s work or legacy beyond empty phrases like “revolutionary” or “changed the face of how music videos were done”. Another scene skims over a controversy of the singer winning an award traditionally won by black artists to paint him as a victim of his own fame. It’s precisely this unashamedly rose-tinted approach to retelling the musician’s life why having them in the driving seat is a glaring red flag.
More frustratingly, there is the potential for a fascinating insight into Michael’s life here. New archive footage of the singer’s personal life alongside Michael’s narration allows the artist to express difficult points of their life in their own words. However, everything about Freedom Uncut feels far too clean and curated to do so honestly.
George Michael Freedom Uncut is released nationwide on 22nd June 2022.
Watch the trailer for George Michael Freedom Uncut here: