Bohemian Rhapsody (Review)

A whole lot of fun and an eccentric Rami Malek steals the show in this rock biopic, but perhaps by being a bit too impersonal at times. 

Written by Blake Hall

Much has been said about Bohemian Rhapsody with its troubled production history.  From actors dropping out (Sacha Baron Cohen was once set to play Freddie Mercury) to director Bryan Singer’s aggressive behavior on set (to the point of getting fired near the end of the shoot), it’s a miracle this was even completed. For all of the trouble, the critical reception hasn’t even been that great.  Having said that, I went into this with an open mind as a fan of Queen and had a blast with it, despite its imperfections.

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It goes without saying, but the best part of the film is Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.  Even though I can’t help but feel like he looks more like Mick Jagger than Freddie in the early segments, he absolutely nails his eccentric high energy personality.  It’s a lovely tribute to the man as well as the English lads who backed him up in the band. It’s hard to not be moved at times.  My favorite moment is the sequence where Queen is recording the song Bohemian Rhapsody.  The Live Aid performance at the end is simply magical as well.

As for issues, this film never really strays past being a formulaic rock biopic and doesn’t have any more depth to offer than a simple celebration of Queen’s music.  I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit too impersonal at times, simply going through the motions of the bands history instead of offering insight to who they were as people.  This is a common flaw music biopics tend to have and this is no exception. It also loses a bit of steam in the third act; falling a bit too far into melodrama (except for the magical Live Aid performance, that is).

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I’ve also heard from die hard Queen fans, that this is historically inaccurate at times (apparently the remaining members of Queen helped produce it so…really not sure how that happened) but that aspect didn’t influence my thoughts on the film since I don’t know that many specifics about their history.  What this film really succeeds at capturing the spirit of Queen, particularly Freddie Mercury.  If you’re like me and am a fan (but not quite a die hard fan), this is a great tribute to what the band was all about.

Blake’s Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 134 minutes
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Written By: Anthony McCarten
Primary Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee

Summary: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary
appearance at the Live Aid concert.

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