Does Bohemian Rhapsody cope under pressure?

Bohemian Rhapsody, 7.6/10, is a crowd-roaring tribute to the world-renowned band, Queen. However, this film focuses far more on the stereotype-smashing and hugely innovative frontman that was Freddie Mercury. Freddie is an icon, an archetype to the performing world – there is no argument to that. Many have tried to out ‘frontman’ him but all will fail. For me, Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the most anticipated films of 2018. The trailer looked to incapsulate everything I would want to see for a film about the legend and the path to success that Queen travelled to reach their groundbreaking success. Sadly, I just don’t think the final product gave justice to legacy of Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody follows a young Farrokh Bulsara (played by Rami Malek) on his path to becoming a star and the glamorous icon we all know: Freddie Mercury. Frustrated with working as a baggage handler at Heathrow, Freddie yearns to perform. Self-aware of the talent within his flamboyant persona and having an astounding four-octave vocal range separates Freddie from every other rockstar wannabe – all he needs is a band. Luckily enough, whilst attending a concert, the band Smile’s front man walks out on them and Freddie is willing to fill the spot. From then, the rest is history. Queen became a force to be reckoned with, defying all expectations and never afraid to cross genres. Unfortunately when talent is in abundance, it soon becomes too much for even the beholder to handle. Struggling with his sexuality or more specifically the expectation and connotation of his sexuality from the outer world, Freddie quickly turns down a path to destruction pushing away his family and loved ones around him. When Freddie is faced with a terrifying AIDS diagnosis, he knows he needs the love of his ‘family’ to help him through it. With the imminent fear of death looming over him, Queen decide to go out with one last performance at Live Aid and what a performance it was.

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Disappointingly, Bohemian Rhapsody had severe pacing issues for the entirety of act one and two which made it difficult to become invested in the film. Understandably, trying to condense the life of Freddie and Queen into two and half hours is a difficult task. Cramming a whole American tour into one minute consisted of Freddie just getting members of Queen to say “Hello Kentucky, Hello Massachusetts” and the use of animation to display the different countries seemed a little unnecessary and a bit cheesy.

Rami Malek gave a perfect performance which I think could be a serious contender for the best performance award at the Oscars. He really does make you forget that it isn’t Freddie himself however, that does give you a sense of sadness when you get to the end of the movie and remember you won’t ever be able to see the true talent in person. The final Live Aid performance is an amazing depiction of a live concert. However, with the added emotion of the band members’ shared knowledge that it may be there last concert together, it really does bring a tear to the eye of the audience.

Overall, I can totally appreciate the brilliance behind this movie. There is copious amounts of fun to be had and the hard-hitting soundtrack will have your feet tapping as you sing along to the greats of Queen. I feel like the energy that comes from the music and the brilliance of Malek’s character study will please the masses, the same as singing the hits drunkenly on karaoke. However for me, Bohemian Rhapsody lacked the oomph I wanted and I don’t particularly feel like I learnt anymore than if I had scrolled through their Wikipedia page. Instead, I received a glamorised version of a life that is well-known to have taken a turn down a darker path. Now just because what I wanted from this film didn’t come to light, do not let that put you off seeing this biopic. Bohemian Rhapsody does make you truly realise the drastic loss the world faced when Freddie Mercury passed. For that reason and for an opportunity to see a truly legendary band in action, you definitely should go and see this film.

Picture: 8/10

Sound: 8/10

Narrative: 6/10

Acting: 9/10

Originality: 7/10

Entertainment (of its genre): 8/10

Overall Rating: 7.6/10

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