Queen was around well before my time, with Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991 taking place two years before I was even born. Regardless, and as with many of my peers across the globe, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was still a theme song of my youth.
Bohemian Rhapsody follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), born Farrokh Bulsara, from the very beginning of his career through to the band’s legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985. Alongside fellow band members Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) and Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Freddie dives into the world of alternative rock-and-roll and takes the world by storm.
The film begins with Freddie working at Heathrow, living at home with a disapproving father and a dream of being more. He heads out to a club one night and comes across a drummer, Roger, and electric guitarist, Brian, whose lead singer has just left their band. Freddie does a semi-audition for the two of them and thus, Queen is born.
Freddie’s life was a production of showmanship, glitz, glam and parties. Bohemian Rhapsody captures not only this but also the incapacitating loneliness that comes along with living in such a way. His complicated relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), though kept well under wraps until now, brings to light the love they shared for one another over the years, as lovers, as friends and as family.
Rami Malek’s performance replicates well that of the famous singer’s, delivering the same uncontainable energy and mannerisms that Freddie was known for on and off stage. He and his band share a palpable rapport on screen, even during tense and strained interactions. The costuming is well-suited to the era, staying aesthetically true to the progression of trend changes over the years.
The character development is tangible throughout as we see Freddie hit rock bottom, sink lower and finally find his way back home to his family and to his better self. The attention to detail during the filming of the Live Aid concert is exemplary and leaves the audience feeling as though they are both a part of the crowd and simultaneously standing up on stage with the band.
Bohemian Rhapsody allows us a glimpse behind the veil of Freddie’s fame and Queen’s success. The film carefully negotiates Freddy’s sexuality, handling it with a respect and openness that only tentatively touches on the truth of the rampant sex parties that the singer was known to host.
Overall, an incredible watch. Bohemian Rhapsody will reignite your love of Queen and remind you why the band was so successful in its prime and still is today.
Director Bryan Singer was fired by 20th Century Fox on December 5, 2017 for reportedly being at odds with his star, Rami Malek. Singer threw an object at the actor when Malek complained to the studio about the director’s absences.