I have been a fan of Queen since for ever – I distinctly remember bopping to Killer Queen at our school Christmas disco in 1974 when I was 12 – and I have most of their albums as well a couple of 12″ picture discs (the younglings will not know what those are, sadly), so there was no way I was going to miss seeing Bohemian Rhapsody.
It was awesome IMHO.
The film tells the story of the band from its inception until their astonishing Live Aid performance in 1985. Although obviously Freddie Mercury is front and centre given his astonishing showmanship and ultimately tragic death, the other band members get a fair amount of attention also.
The casting is brilliant. Rami Malek is amazing as Freddie, capturing his distinct style of performance without getting lost in what could have been merely an impersonation. Gwilym Lee looks so much like Brian May, ditto Joe Mazzello as John Deacon, that it’s almost easier to accept that time travel exists! There are also lots of well-known British actors in supporting roles though I totally missed Mike Myers in his cameo.
The controversy around the film before it was released centred on how Freddie’s sexuality was going to be portrayed, and although it’s a 12A and therefore shies away from the more lurid aspects of his life, I don’t think it was straight-washed as many had feared. Of course it’s a movie and not a documentary, so some elements were changed to increase dramatic tension and the timing of certain events was tinkered with, but I thought the essence of the band and its history was largely maintained and I wasn’t disappointed in any of the changes made.
Clearly it’s a very old-fashioned, traditional biopic but the performances and especially the recreations of the various musical numbers are so special that it doesn’t matter that there are no real risks in the storytelling or direction. I loved every second of it, managed not to sing along until the end credits, and will very happily watch it again in its DVD release.
Honestly, if you like Queen you will enjoy this film (although you’ve probably seen it already!), and I’ll be stunned if Malek doesn’t win awards for his performance.
Directed by Brian Singer (though finished by Dexter Fletcher when Singer was sacked from the project) BoRap is 134 mins long and rated 12A for moderate sex references, drug references, infrequent strong language