HOLLYWOOD—Like many of you I don’t have a vast amount of knowledge about the rock band Queen, so understand my delight for a film like “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Not only is this a movie that chronicles the rise of Queen and one of its front-man Freddie Mercury portrayed phenomenally by Rami Malek. Malek is a revelation in the role of this iconic singer who was quite flamboyant to say the least. Mercury is known for his theatrics and the audience gets to explore that side of the singer to a degree.
However, I would make the argument the movie is slightly tame in really digging deep and exploring the depths of Mercury’s entire life story. That could be the direct result of the writer not wanting to dive into that realm or worse, the film’s PG-13 rating prevented it from traveling down that potential dark tunnel.
The movie has those iconic classics like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” while also giving audiences, and fans of the rock group an inside look at how some of those songs came to fruition. Director Bryan Singer, who is known for his work on the “X-Men” flicks, manages to craft a flick that has moments where the drama is quite slow. He deals with difficult subject matter involving Mercury’s sexuality that is dealt with care and also manages to evoke emotions and thoughts in the viewer about a man who one thinks they know, but underneath all the glitz, glamour and flashing lights there is so much more going on.
The film has a host of acting talent, but without a doubt Malek carries this movie. His acting is spot on and he manages to draw the viewer in with his ability to unmask a man who was not that easy to crack. He controls the narrative and is the driving force of where the story begins and where it ends. With many music groups we see fractures, as Freddie’s ego and leading man status gets the best of him. Mercury’s solo career explodes, just as his bandmates hit the skids.
At times “Bohemian Rhapsody” seems similar to so many musical biopics where drugs, sex and music ultimately lead to the downfall of their careers. In Mercury’s case it was the revelation that he contracted AIDS, and he’s able to make an amends with those who pushed to the sideline before his death. Can I make the argument that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the best musical biopics I’ve seen in my cinematic career?
The answer to that question is no. I will note that even while not a fan of Queen, a viewer can appreciate the story of Freddie Mercury and this iconic rock band that changed music as we know it. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a entertaining tale that even those who are not fans of Queen will enjoy.