Is This Real Life? Seems Like Fantasy.
By Gabriel Vara
Passionate and exciting, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is an extravagant retelling of the story of lead singer Freddie Mercury and his legendary band Queen. Formed in London in 1970, the British rock band fused heavy metal and glam rock, and emphasized elaborate guitar work and flamboyant performances. Directed by Bryan Singer with screenplay from Anthony McCarten, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was written by Anthony McCarten and stars Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Taylor, Joseph Mazzello as bassist John Deacon, Gwilym Lee as guitarist Brian May, and Rami Malek as the myth himself, singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsar.
The movie chronicles the years leading up to the famous Live Aid concert in 1985. Beginning his story as a baggage handler at an airport, we see the formation of the band Queen, when the young singer approaches band members from the band “Smile” and sings to the entire parking lot to demonstrate his talents. What begins from this is a rollercoaster of success and personal struggle, highlighted by Rami Malek's excellent performance both on stage and living his personal life.
In this celebration of a legend, “Bohemian Rhapsody” does a great job of portraying the passion and explosiveness of Freddie Mercury and the grand scale of his band’s theatrical musical performances. Shows are packed with what turn into hundreds of thousands of people, whose clapping and stomping shake the theater. The fireworks and smoke-filled stages are colossal, as big as the name that occupies them -- Queen -- whose band members have the time of their lives on stage, laughing and holding noticeably long eye-contact with each other. The soundtrack for “Bohemian Rhapsody” is mix of live performances, new versions of hits, and some of the studio recordings of original songs. The film also includes five never-before-released audio recordings of Queen’s performance at Live Aid at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1985. Queen’s powerful anthems still resonate today, and this score is a testament to that. But in between the flashy lights, the movie glosses over many personal conflicts and struggles of the band, which results in the plot seeming too good to be true -- almost fictional. The attempts to create tension in the film felt increasingly awkward as it progressed and everything just went right for Queen. However, the film did explore important issues that are still relevant today, such as Mercury’s struggle with AIDS. All in all, it seemed obvious that the majority of effort went into the concert sequences, which is not entirely a bad thing.
The most recent addition to the music-movie genre, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a fun experience to clap your hands and stomp your feet along to. Even though the film is not entirely historically accurate, it would still be enjoyable for the most die hard Queen fans, or the people who just like humming along to “Don’t Stop Me Now.”
Director: Bryan Singer
Written by: Anthony McCarten
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Starring: Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee
Duration: 2hr 13m