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Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review

June 6, 2019
Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody - Movie Review by Darren Cunningham

Who wants to live forever?    Freddie Mercury has been long gone from us for almost thirty years, but his legend is immortalised in the rock music echelons by the many fans he acquired when he was alive, and many new ones made from a later generation. Mercury was the lead singer of the English rock band Queen, which made its debut in the early 70’s and were still riding high in the pop rock world throughout the 80’s. Mercury died at the tender age of 45 in 1991. Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicles the life of Freddie from his humble beginnings in London as a Parsi refugee from Zanzibar, his desire to perform, assembling his band which was to become known as Queen and through his personal trials and tribulations; with his fellow band members, record producers and those who were connected with him on a more intimate level.

Freddie Mercury was Queen, although the other three members of the band, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon contributed to the writing of the songs, music and provided vocals themselves, it was Mercury that gave the band its dynamic and star attraction. Freddie had a strong powerful vocal and as commented in the film, had plenty of range - it was impossible for him to sing off key. He was pretty much the guiding force behind the image of Queen.

American actor Rami Malek, who is of Egyptian ethnicity, tackles the role of Freddie Mercury with extraordinary results and for this film to work, much of this rested on Malek’s shoulders and authentic delivery of performance. He is very invested in Mercury and while Malek may not quite match the physical stature of Freddie, he still matches the soul, spirit and presence of him and deservedly nabbed the Best Actor Academy Award® at this year’s Oscars® ceremony.

Bryan Singer, best known for the first installments of the Marvel X Men films, is at the helm directing here. Along with an un-credited Dexter Fletcher, who took over from Singer in the last few weeks of shooting, they have both done a sterling effort in giving this music biography a dynamic energy that is very infectious and appealing. The film is also superbly edited and while covering almost two decades of time in just over two hours, the film doesn’t come across as rushed or choppy. It allows time for the viewer to see the artist in creative mode, time for the intimate aspects to give the film feeling and plenty of time to bask in the glory of Queen’s music, culminating in an explosive re-enactment of a Queen performance at Wembley Stadium for the 1985 Live Aid Charity Concert.

Getting its title from one of their most popular songs that was released in the mid 70’s, which initially faced consternation from their record producers, due to its outlandish and even nonsensical nature, the Bohemian Rhapsody song clicked splendidly with listeners and has in a sense become the bands flagship achievement. This film could also be considered a flagship achievement too, in how to present a terrific music film biopic.