“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a love letter to the members of Queen, their music, and the life of Freddie Mercury. It depicts some of the most memorable moments in the band’s career. Queen guitarist, Brian May, and drummer, Roger Taylor, consulted on making the film. They crafted the film to highlight Freddie as an icon so the rest of the band become secondary characters.
Gwilym Lee and Ben Hardy play Brian May and Roger Taylor respectively. Joseph Mazzello plays bassist John Deacon and Rami Malek plays the enigmatic frontman. Aidan Gillen plays Queen manager John Reid and Lucy Boynton plays Mercury’s lifelong friend and partner Mary Austin. Mike Myers makes a fun cameo appearance as EMI executive Ray Foster who drove the band away over the single, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’
As a movie, it is nothing groundbreaking. If you have ever seen a rockumentary before, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is nothing new. It is fun and it’s characters carry the story. Malek will no doubt be in award conversations for his performance in this film. That being said, we all knew that Mercury would be the main focal point of the film yet, the film does nothing to help us really get to know the singer on a deeper level.
I would like to have seen more moments of Mercury’s inner thoughts. We see a lot of montages of the bands rise to success, their stardom, and their falling out. There are a lot of montages given as expositional fillings. It leaves the film needing a true antagonist beyond the self-destructive behavior of a famous figure.
Not to say that the film is rushed. The first act does move quickly, we see the band form and their first performance where we see Mercury’s iconic broken mic stand. After that, there is a montage of the band performing at bigger and bigger crowds. It slows down to show makings of key songs like, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” During this point, we do get a funny cameo from Mike Myers who argues on whether the classic song should be the album’s single. He suggests that the single be, “I’m in love with my car.” Myers says, “It’s a song teenagers can sit in their car and headbang to or whatever they do.” It brings Myer’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene from “Wayne’s World” full circle in a joke that even works with the movie.
The greatest moments in the film come from Queen’s music and Malek’s ability to capture the screen. The concert recreations bring songs we’ve seen made to life and help us to see Mercury’s talent on stage. All these moments help to move the film along but it does leave the story to become generic.
As the plot progresses we see the personal relationships that Mercury and group cultivate like his partner and lifelong friend, Mary Austin. Mercury’s coming out to her is quickly brought up and resolved. We see them become friends, even moving into a home next to Mercury. Their relationship does help add tension in the later years as Mercury becomes jealous of her new husband and family.
Beyond the relationships he creates and Queen’s rise and fall, there is not much else to constitute a story. The only antagonist is Mercury himself. We do see a little backstabbing happen between Mercury’s lover, Paul, and the rest of the group. He acts as the Yoko Ono for Queen. But again, his subplot is brought and somewhat quickly resolved, as their relationship ends when Paul does not inform Mercury of Live Aid. Mary Austin helps Mercury rid of Paul and begin to love himself.
The movie relies heavily on the talent of Malek and Queen’s music to entertain audiences. The former band members serving as producers make the film do little to criticize Mercury as a man. It instead chooses to focus on the aspects of him as a person and the music that made him an icon. It is nothing that needs to be seen in theatres but I recommend you get it when it’s available to buy. I’d give the film a 6.9, Malek’s performance drives the film and it is as entertaining as singing Queen karaoke. It does feel a little empty as a story and the film does not let you savor some of the best parts of the film. The film is available at the Tift AMC in the mall parking lot.