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Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

There are few people in the world who don’t know the name Freddie Mercury, whether you’re a fan of Queen, born after he died, or have lived in a cave forever. As someone born the same year as one of Queen’s greatest hits, the title of this movie, it’s seems impossible that he’s not been amongst the living for 27 years!

During his life, Mercury’s ability to draw the crowds and hold their attention was hard to rival. Post his untimely demise, the power and ability to redraw new generations with that voice and creativity has only grown. He was truly a rare and gifted talent, bolstered by an equally gifted group of musicians that, together, gave the world some of the greatest songs in history.

"thoroughly entertaining biopic, with an excellent lead, that is told through the lens of the band. Because of this fact, it’s more gloss than introspection."


It was inevitable that at some point someone was going to want to explore the life of Mercury and Queen. In 2010, with the surviving band members permission, work was started to bring their story to the silver screen with Sasha Baron Cohen attached to star as Mercury. The dramas behind the scenes in getting the film into production could make a movie in itself. Needless to say, Cohen and Queen couldn’t come to terms, and a long game of musical chairs began with writers, actors and directors before Rami Malek was hired to play Mercury and Bryan Singer was given the director’s spot (for most of the production anyway-but that another story).

What came out after years of false starts is Bohemian Rhapsody; a Mercury centric life story that focuses on his ascension from luggage handler to icon.

The film’s greatest asset is their casting of Malek. He is a slighter man that Mercury was, but his immersion into the role, at moments in throughout the film, is so good, you could find yourself thinking he was channeling the late singer.

It’s a briskly paced story that unloads the multiple facets of Mercury’s life efficiently; having said that, the sum total, especially the dialogue, seems a little contrived and formulaic and sometimes it’s downright on the nose.  The decision not to delve too deeply into Mercury’s homosexuality and his contracting of AIDS is going to be accused of playing it safe. But they don’t avoid it, and they present Mercury’s adversity with both himself, the media, and Queen quite beautifuly. I think it would be fare to say, because Mercury is no longer with us, the internal struggles could only be written from a second hand perspective, so any lack of depth may be boiled down to Queen not wanted to present anything that they weren’t privy to. That side of the late singer was something he lived predominately away from his band mates. But most of the well-known elements from his life; the adoration of Mary Austin, his love of cats, his insecurities, and his relish in performing are present, bookended by the Live Aid concert in 1985.

The most enjoyable thing about this movie was the depiction of the band on stage at the various stages of their career. You never get full renditions of their performances, but what you do get moves the passage of time along nicely and sounds terrific.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

This is a thoroughly entertaining biopic, with an excellent lead, that is told through the lens of the band. Because of this fact, it’s more gloss than introspection. I am sure they wanted to be as respectful and loving to Freddie Mercury as they could, but the instinct to (sometimes) rush past the darker parts of their journey, not explore any of Mercury’s final years, and focus more on the highs of their career is a little self-indulgent and comes off as sanitized.

Imperfect but worthy couple of hours to spend, watching a one of a kind lead singer and one of the greatest bands in the world. Listening to Queen in any setting is a gift.

3 stars

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.
Runtime:
134 mins
Director
: Bryan Singer
Writer:
Anthony McCarten
Cast:
Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee
Genre
: Music | Biography
Tagline:
The only thing more extraordinary than their music is his story.
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is when the operatic part comes in."
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 2, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. Facing a life-threatening illness, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

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Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

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