A legendary band with an equally legendary lead singer - Queen pushed the boundaries of modern rock music with their experimental operatic technique. As with David Bowie their music was ever evolving, from progressive 70s pop rock to more radio-friendly pop of later years. Taken from the name of their career defining anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody reflects on the rise and rise of Queen and Freddie Mercury in the years that build to their stunning 1985 Live Aid performance.
This sluggish Queen biopic isn't any kind of magic. Even though Rami Malek is somebody to love as Freddie Mercury - Bohemian Rhapsody is a watered down, less than mediocre music flick that glazes over the trauma and struggles the band's leading man endured. Freddie's story is told at a ridiculously elementary level with no new insight into the hardship of his life. It's almost like Bohemian Rhapsody reads as a transcript of facts from Wikipedia, lacking any sense of grit and subtlety. The scenes between the band members feel corny and bogus and Freddie's sexuality is dealt with very heavy-handedly, in a black and white way that overlooks any nuance or complexity.
Queen were such an extraordinary band and they as well as Freddie deserve an awful lot better. Bohemian Rhapsody is almost a disservice to them - taking their legend and turning it into an easily accessible melodrama that completely undercuts the essence of what made the band so iconic, so unconventional, so Queen. Director Brian Singer stifles Freddie's flamboyant, off-the-wall style with a dreadfully conventional biopic. If you imagine your bog standard music flick you have the drugs, the booze, the sex, the songs, the performances and the family drama - throw in the fabulously out-there Freddie Mercury and you've got yourself a real Bohemian Rhapsody. However if you dissect that, take out the tired rock n roll tropes and add a bucket-load of weird and wonderful moments the result would have been far more authentic.
Malek's performance as the one and only Freddie Mercury will certainly rock you. Capturing every fine detail of his flamboyant stage presence, Malek has Freddie's distinct mannerisms down to a T. He shapes his vocals to mirror those of Freddie's - his booming roar and powerful shrill along with the inflective diction of his speaking voice. All the same, Malek is bogged down in an otherwise frustratingly bland biopic - no matter how effective his performance is, Freddie is not given the stage he rightly deserves.
Singer's lazy Queen drama is no royalty whatsoever. His vision is so elementary and formulaic - taking one of the industry''s greatest icons and making him seem like another doomed rockstar. Bohemian Rhapsody is absent of the band's quirky artistry, it shoe-horns in all the greatest hits as if Singer were carelessly bashing a Karaoke machine on set. Skipping passed so much context and depth - this is a killer for Queen as Bohemian Rhapsody instantly bites the dust.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.