Bohemian Rhapsody is a celebration of English rock band, Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of a solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid in the summer of 1985. While facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music.
Review by Louise Keller:
Queen's seductive music and Rami Malek's scene-stealing performance as Freddie Mercury make Bohemian Rhapsody into epic cinematic poetry. It may be a bit long, but there's much to enjoy as the film soars on the wings of its toe-tapping music, unbridled theatricality and powerful emotional heart. Directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men) and penned by Anthony McCarten (The Darkest Hour), credentials are immaculate with superb staging, production design and editing. Malek aside, the entire cast shines in this tale of musical and personal audacity, in which fear plays no part.
The recreation of Mercury along with his prominent toothy over-bite is a work of genius and Malek assumes the mantle as if born to the role: outrageous yet vulnerable. There he is, dressed in lizard frills, skin-tight black leather and harlequin jumpsuit. I occasionally felt I was watching a caricature, although nothing can detract from the sheer power of the portrayal, the relationships and of course the music. Songs like Killer Queen, Don't Stop Me Now, We are the Champions and the title song, which ambitiously straddles rock 'n roll, opera and musical theatre like no other. I wished the creation of Queen's unique musical sound was given more screen time.
The narrative begins in 1970 London when Mercury volunteers himself as replacement lead singer in a band of misfits playing for misfits. Everything takes off from there. Lucy Boynton makes an impression as the girl who is 'almost everything' to Mercury and the depiction of the different personalities in the band and their relationships (Gwylim Lee notable as Brian May) is nicely done. The portrayal of Mercury’s sexual preferences is subtle in the context of the flamboyance displayed.
As stated, it is the relationships and not the music that are usually the reason for the break-ups. Watch for Mike Myers as the record executive who thinks all 6 minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody is 'quasi operatic dirge'. I was especially moved by the scene in which Mercury reconciles with his conservative Parsi father, who believes his son should aspire to good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
The climactic Live Aid concert in which the band famously reunites brings all the story strands neatly together before footage of the real band and Freddie Mercury in full flight. I loved the film, but not as much as I had hoped. Time now to revisit all those fabulous songs.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Whether you are or were a Queen fan, Bohemian Rhapsody stands alone as a terrific film, made the more moving and engaging by the truth of its story, complete with its pathos, melancholy, triumph and death. Rami Malek absorbs Freddie Mercury completely in an Oscar worthy performance, which drives the film's power and its heart.
The entire cast is a knock-out, with Lucy Boynton superb as Mary, the love of Freddy's life. The band members are each unique and wonderful characterisations, as is Tom Hollander's lawyer/manager, Jim Beach. An unrecognisable Mike Myers delivers a dryly amusing record label executive in Ray Foster, and all supports are first class.
The editing is exceptional, giving the film pace and clarity of story, while the musical performances - whether in rehearsal or in the giant auditorium of Wembley Stadium - are sensational.
The twists and turns in the story of Queen make for a thrilling story as well as a bitter sweet biopic of Mercury himself and the production moves our hearts as well as our feet. First class film making.
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BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (M)
CAST: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Aaron McCusker, Meneka Das, Ace Bhatti, Priya Blackburn, Dickie Beau
PRODUCER: Graham King
DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer
SCRIPT: Anthony McCarten
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Newton Thomas Sigel
EDITOR: John Ottman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Aaron Haye
RUNNING TIME: 134 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 1, 2018