Despite its lack of depth ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ brings to life the illustrious style and charisma of Freddie Mercury and Queen.
I will have Queen songs stuck in my head all through next week. Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury distinguishes itself by being one of the only biopic’s to live up to the energy of the Queen lead singer. While the film had its’ issues, one issue it did not have was showing off the impact that the band had on music in the 70’s and 80’s. The glitz, the glamour, and the parties were something of a myth when it came to Queen’s lifestyle and this film showed all of it.
The film doesn’t waste time getting the band together. Within the first 30 minutes, the band formerly known as ‘Smile’ has changed their name to ‘Queen’ and recruited Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury to become the lead singer, marking the moment that music history changed. The film breezes past Freddie’s childhood and younger years as the film starts with a buck-teeth Freddie pushing suitcases at Heathrow Airport. We do see a bit of tension in the Bulsara household as Freddie battles his father’s authority throughout.
Regardless, Rami Malek’s performance had us rooting for him from the very start of the movie. His wittiness and humor was something prevalent throughout. Even back in the 70’s and 80’s, Mercury’s flamboyant style and swagger was something of phenomena and Rami Malek plays that to a tee. His graceful speaking and energetic performances make for the highlights of this movie. We also get a glimpse at the lavish parties Mercury would host. At one point, we see a party filled with goons, goblins, and midgets carrying martinis.
One thing I’ve noticed about biopics is their ability to explain and show-off the creation of the music and this film followed suit. It showed the creation of classic songs like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ with poise, creativity, and bliss. It was amazing seeing how the idea of the 6-minute song was created and why the band decided to do an opera-themed album in the first place. The movie shows and proves that Freddie Mercury and Queen were always open to pushing the envelope in terms of new sounds in music and that is a big reason why you still hear their songs all around the world.
One major flaw was its lack of depth. It seemed as though throughout the film, the characters would reach a conclusion but the audience would be stuck perplexed as to why or even how that happened. The film ducks and dodges Mercury’s sexuality and cross-dressing by simply stating that this is the way he is. Much like how it was in real life, there were hints here and there regarding Mercury’s love-life but no clear-cut answer.
From Freddie Mercury’s rise and its fall to the immensely famous live-aid performance in 1985, there was a lot of ground that this movie had to cover and it did a good job of doing so. I just wish there was more depth in the reasoning for some of the characters decisions. The film also skips through the end of Mercury’s life and ends at the live-aid performance. We only get a curtain call explanation as to what happened after the performance and how his life tragically ended.
What the film lacked in depth, it gained in comedy with humorous moments throughout. From banter back & forth between Mercury and the band to a surprise cameo by Mike Myers as the President of EMI records, the movie was funny in a lot of ways. Malek helped that with his standoff-ish British accent and demeanor.
Despite mixed reviews and some directing issues before the release of the movie, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ still managed to rake in $50 million in North America, just $10 million shy of the biopic record set by ‘Straight Outta Compton’. A lot of that will be as a result of Malek’s enigmatic performance. Personally, I’m glad the role landed in his hands instead of Sacha Baren Cohen which was the initial actor linked to the film.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do yourself a favor and go on a Tuesday and watch a part of history. It’s worth the time and your money and Rami Malek makes sure of that.