Bohemian Rhapsody

Gwilym Lee, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. (AP)
Gwilym Lee, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from Bohemian Rhapsody. (AP)


Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who 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, their near-implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, and who continue to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.


The only thing that made me want to take a bath when I was a kid was the promise of being able to sing Bohemian Rhapsody, start to finish, with my father. He was my backup singer and I was Freddie Mercury with a moustache made of bubbles. By the time the song was done, I was allowed to get out of the bath. The rock epic was the only thing I knew all the words to (other than the Our Father prayer) and it started off my love affair with Queen. 

Naturally, when I found out that they were making a Mercury biopic, I was cautiously optimistic at the prospect of something in the vein of Walk the Line. I’d even settle for an 8 Mile. Something that gives a fan something to chew on and a novice the juicier morsels to get them hooked. However, I am sad to say this Bryan Singer-helmed flick is nowhere close. 

It had an incredible amount of promise that was lost in favour of skimming over moments and relationships that could have given insight into the man who made the legend. Sadder still is the fact that young Rami Malek is one of the most talented actors you’ll see on screen in a large studio film, this year. He has clearly worked so hard to do Freddie’s legend some form of justice and he has excelled, but it is not enough to save a film brought down by Singer’s inability to understand nuance as well as motivation. In other words, this movie took a quick a dip when what I wanted was a deep dive to uncover untold riches. 

Along these lines I also wish that Freddie’s relationship with Jim Hutton had been given more attention, because it was - by all accounts - one of the most important relationships in his life. Instead, poor Jim is mentioned like one would a footnote in the history of the world. While his relationship with Mary Austin was given a lot of screen time, it was almost viewed out of context of the time and place. 

Don’t get me wrong, this movie, for all it’s faults, will still get you dancing and singing along. It is centred around one of the greatest bands in the world’s music after all. And in spite of everything, Rami will pull you through. His performance in this movie is like the promise of Friday night beer at the end of a long week, it will keep you going. 

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