George Michael: Freedom Uncut – The DVDfever Review – George Michael’s final documentary

George Michael: Freedom Uncut George Michael: Freedom Uncut was a few minutes in before I realised it was very familiar…

I knew it was a documentary he co-directed, himself, in 2016, year, unaware at the time that it would end up screening after he passed away, on Christmas Day that year, from heart failure.

However, I’d forgotten that it largely aired on Channel 4 in October 2017, because I’ve had a sleep since then, and I thought this was a brand new documentary. Instead, it’s what you’ve already seen, but extended by about 10-15 minutes. But let’s see what we have here.

An immense talent of singing and songwriting, George Michael made some incredible tunes over the years, hitting the peak in 1990, for me. I was a kid when Wham! started, and even my late grandma was into them because of George, buying their “The Final” LP to enjoy it more and more. She passed away in November 1989, and I remember in the summer of 1990 when I was working in a godawful Little Chef (as if there were any which WEREN’T godawful), and Praying For Time boomed out of a radio in the back.

The first single from Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1, I was blown away with this song, and despite it only being a small transistor radio, with a song like that, it could’ve been IMAX 11.1 ultra surround sound for the difference it made.

So, what we need is a tribute to the man which will last for all time… which, sadly, we don’t get.

As a documentary, it feels very pretentious, opening with a brief intro from Kate Moss, and then going into a James Bond-style version of Fast Love, sung slowly by Adele – reminding me why I’ve never had an interest in her music.

What follows is the occasional words of Mr Michael – albeit most of which we’ve heard before, as it’s mostly sourced from previous documentaries, plus endless butt-kissing from celebrities as they listen to his music and comment on it, for example with contributions from Naomi Campbell, Liam Gallagher (effing and jeffing because that’s all he can do – he certainly can’t sing!), Ricky Gervais, and the never-ending pain in the backside that is James Corden. Seriously, who on Earth thinks he’s even the least bit funny? They need to have a word with themselves. Oh, and it’s been a long time since Gervais was funny. So it’s like a Musical Celebrity Gogglebox. We already know the music is unsurpassable, so these add nothing.

In fact, Corden observes that had he not done a ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with George Michael for 2011’s Comic Relief, he might never have been the big star in the USA that he is now. Oh, what a shame that would’ve been(!)

There’s occasional clips from live performances with Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, for example, but they’re just clips. I’d rather see the whole peformances uninterrupted.

Hearing Freeek! again, it reminds me how many radio stations playing it uncut during the daytime, even though it included the line, “I’ll be your inspirational lover, your one-fuck fantasy”.

George Michael jokes his life was a ‘waste of time’. Well, this documentary was largely also a missed opportunity. I recommend instead that you just listen to his music, instead. And to that end, while Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 was re-released at the time of the original documentary, not only in vinyl, but also as a CD boxset with 3 CDs and a DVD containing the 1990 South Bank Show episode, promo videos for Freedom! ’90, Praying For Time and Freedom! ’90 MTV 10th Anniversary, just make sure you get into his music by buying some of it if you haven’t already and play it out.

If you haven’t seen George Michael: Freedom Uncut in any form, then you may wish to check it out for the George clips, but beyond that, you can skip through most of the vox pops.

What’s also made this disappointing is that it’s a cinema release for what I thought was a brand new documentary, but it just a ‘revised repeat’ (in TV terms), and that’s not worthy of a big-screen release.

As I mentioned, there is an additional 17 minutes in this version, but I don’t know precisely what’s been added, compared to what I’ve already seen. I was wishing we could’ve had more George, and an absence of Messrs Gervais, Gallagher and Corden, and surprisingly, after the halfway point, this version does tip more slightly in his favour, making this new version an improvement, if not by much… since those pointless celebs do return towards the end. I wish they wouldn’t.

I’m sure there’s a great documentary to be made about the life and times of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, but this isn’t it.

Oh, and if you’re wondering who David Austin is, he’s a friend and longtime collaborator of George’s.

George Michael: Freedom Uncut is in cinemas from Wednesday June 22nd, but it’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.

In the meantime, you can buy Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 on CD/DVD boxset and Vinyl, plus there’s the hardcover book, George Michael : 1963-2016.

George Michael: Freedom Uncut – Official Trailer

Detailed specs:

Running time: 108 minutes
Release date: June 22nd 2022
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Score: 4/10 – just for George’s comments and the music… until he’s interrupted by another celeb talking head.

Directors: David Austin and George Michael
Producer: Lisa Johnson

Tony Bennett
Mary J Blige
Naomi Campbell
James Corden
Cindy Crawford
Clive Davis
Tracey Emin
Linda Evangelista
Liam Gallagher
Ricky Gervais
Elton John
Tatjana Patitz
Nile Rodgers
Mark Ronson
Christy Turlington
Stevie Wonder