If you aren’t stomping your foot, and maybe even welling up a little while watching Bohemian Rhapsody… then you are doing it wrong.
A powerful dramatisation following the formation of the band Queen and the inspirational but troubled life of its lead singer Freddie Mercury.
Upon its production, some onlookers questioned the casting of lead Rami Malek, mostly known for Amazon production Mr. Robot, over the popular choice Sasha Baron Cohen. How wrong they were. Malek is a total powerhouse in the role, in a role that is as important to the quality of the film as it is layered and extremely emotion-filled. If he does not at least get several Best Actor nominations next year, a lot of audiences will be appalled.
Freddie Mercury is an icon of the music scene, and the band Queen made some of the most influential and memorable music of the era. But the film dials things all the way back to the then Farrokh Bulsara, a baggage handler at Hethrow Airport as he, a disgrace in his father’s eyes, meet his future band mates in a chance encounter. Quite bizarre in appearance, the musicians weren’t convinced, but up on stage, Farrokh blew people’s minds with his incredible vocals.
So begins the story of the band’s journey to their legendary performance in 1985’s LiveAid concert, and the highs and lows along the way.
Like all good biopics, Bohemian Rhapsody does not depict a saint, or even a visionary. It instead depicts an incredible creative mind struggling with self-esteem, sexuality, and self-image. All at a time when homosexuality was met with ridicule and disgust. As such, the film shows a lowly individual with hopes and dreams, actually acquire those dreams with incredible speed and almost falls into disastrous ruin because of it.
But the film has monumental energy, much like the man at the centre of it all. The band is depicted like a hurricane; blasting into public conscious despite early ridicule, producing unique and defining hits one after another, while ignoring all of their naysayers.
There isn’t one performance that is out of tune, and there is some interesting casting choices, clearly calculated to perfect the people involved. Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse) and even Mike Myers is hidden in there, are the noticeable faces, yet everyone has tremendous chemistry between one another. This is no more obvious than with the band themselves, who operate like a dysfunctional family, but that mad mix is the lightning in a bottle that allowed Queen to achieve such bafflingly memorable music. This is captured perfectly; you feel their camaraderie, their passion and their frustrations.
There a lot of tension, and treachery, as one would expect as a fledgling band suddenly becomes a global phenomenon. But there is also a lot of levity too. In fact the film’s use of the greatest Queen songs is timed wonderfully. From the birth of Bohemian Rhapsody, to the formation of Another One Bites the Dust. Excellent moments!
The music itself truly is unparalleled, and the actors, direction and editing capture and empower it all wonderfully. You hear those initial beats start and you are immediately hooked. Such wonderful music, given even more strength in seeing the raw emotion and drive that surely inspired their conception.
Rami Malek has all the dramatic heft and work to do though. Depicting a personality as strong and as wayward as Mercury, who was surely a pioneer of a society desperate for their own voice. Especially in this day and age, to see a story so well depicted, a harmony of human spirit and celebration of creative freedom and social liberty. He absolutely nails it, and in a way, makes the film one of the most uplifting and wonderful films of this decade. This reviewer was positively misty-eyed for at least fifteen minutes towards the end!
If you have been holding off seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, you should delay no longer. If you do not know the story behind Queen, never fear, as it is clear that a lot of passion and conviction has been poured into this film!
Additional Marshmallows: Oh, you want a negative? Really? Well… there is one continuity mistake that is quite glaringly obvious, but that is nothing compared to how excellent everything else is!
Additional, additional Marshmallows: How on the down-low is the fact that the film is directed by Bryan Singer or what?