As I sit here writing this movie review on a cold October night, Queen’s ‘Somebody to love’ is blasting out of my speakers. If you didn’t know before, I’m a queen fan, music and all. When Bohemian Rhapsody was announced as a feature film I was beyond excited, despite numerous bad critical reviews for the film, the public as far as I can work out have done nothing but praise it, me included.
I’ll put it simply, I have not seen a performance like Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) for some time, he is electric as the role of rock musics most eccentric voice. Malek’s chemistry along with the other members of the band is perhaps where some critics have stepped in. Gyilym Lee (Brian May) Ben Hardy (Rodger Taylor) and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) have clearly embraced each position of the queen ‘family’ and their attitudes, yet there does seem to be a large focus on freddie, masking the question: was this a biopic of Mercury’s life or a film about queen?
The film has been criticized for not focusing much on Freddie’s sexuality, in my honest view, I feel the film did Freddie Mercury and his band mates justice beyond reason, the legacy of this film was not to evaluate Mercury’s life, it was to showcase an iconic 1970s and 80s rock band into peoples modern lives.
Along with the cast are Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin) and Allen Leech (Paul Prenter) the casting is crucial for this film, purely because everyone knows what Freddie looked like, but not many people knew the management and private side to his life. Mary Austin was his first partner, fiancé and friend for the length of his life, along with this Paul Prenter is presented in a way that his entire image for being around Freddie was to ‘gain’ something. So what makes the audience believe all they see? well for starters, Brian May, John Deacon and Rodger Taylor were involved in the film from start to finish, they each still publicly mourn Freddie, as such I can’t see them wanting to report on a script where Freddie was personally broken in any way, other than what we know.
A particularly hard scene that made me and several of my friends around me get a lump in their throat, was Freddie talking to what we can assume was a doctor, to the song “who wants to live forever”, as he’s leaving the hospital a young man with Aids looks his way and simply says “ay oh”. Mercury says it back sombrely but thus walks out of the hospital and later on tells his band mates “I have it” while they are rehearsing for the legendary Live Aid concert. It really showed the historical importance of Live Aid, and the help that it gave to people. Along with the discussions it started for charity’s.
The aids outbreak was portrayed in the media in a completely negative way to begin with, and of course its unbelievably sad to contract it, but it was pushed aside and ignored until the mid 1980s when arguably Live Aid started that global discussion, along with figure heads that spoke out and allowed that ‘negative’ view to move into an action plan.
The Live Aid concert in Bohemian Rhapsody just blew me away, it was probably the highlight of the film in all honesty. I really have not sung that loud or chair danced ever(hopefully you all did the same and get what I mean by chair dancing). The whole scene was EPIC! accounts from Live Aid at the time said that Queen “stole the show” , I can’t ever say that without watching the entire show or traveling back in time (anyone know a way?) but they certainly put on a show in the film, Malek gave it his all.
The problem I have with this film, is more of a problem with the director, Bryan Singer. He was fired from the film a few weeks before filming wrapped leaving Dexter Fletcher to “tidy up the end”. Singer was constantly turning up late to set, and not even turning up at all on some days. Whatever the reasons were, Singer still gained credit for the film, because ultimately he was there longer. But in all seriousness, who wouldn’t want to direct a queen film!? Pick me!
Along with that, there were some questionable graphics with the touring scenes at the start, and the script was weak in parts. There was moments when the film jumped to a next scene but didn’t really expand where they were going. I can only account this for the fact they had to cover such a massive time range.
Overall, I really do recommend this film. Whether your a queen fan or not, its worth watching just for the Live Aid scene, and the brilliant costumes, and everyone should know at least one of their songs… I hope!
Here are some key clips:
and their Live Aid performance: