New Queen biopic is a killer
Jeff Lamson – Arts & Entertainment Editor
Despite some shortcomings and clichés, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” will charge you up and asking for the AUX cord to play some Queen on the drive home from the theater.
The film following the career of Queen and specifically Freddie Mercury opens with the Fox Fanfare performed by Queen’s own Brian May and then a cold start on the morning of the iconic LIVE AID performance, which has over 68 million views on YouTube.
From the start, the film littered with iconic tracks from Queen’s extensive and legendary discography, as well as some additional flavors of the time period, making the soundtrack a standout highlight. The soundtrack serves as an auditory timeline, cluing the audience into what stage of Queen’s career is being covered.
As a film, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” is never quite dull. The pretty consistently quick pace is good for those with short attention spans, but unfortunately, it is lacking in quiet character moments.
Fans of Queen will understand the general sequence of events for the band, but what a biopic is really meant to do is investigate the character of its subjects.
The film does delve into some of Mercury’s troubled life, including his loneliness, hardships, sexuality and his tendency to be self-absorbed and cruel to the people around him. However, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” seems to put more importance on the sheer entertainment value of Queen. Subsequently, the audience does not really get much more than what they would already know about Mercury or the band.
It ends on a near complete recreation of the entire from the LIVE AID charity concert in
1985, which is masterfully done, but is unfortunately pretty devoid of plot as far as conclusions go. The camera takes time to show the scale of the event and take in reaction shots from those close to Mercury to act as if everything is resolved and that this was his finale.
It completely glosses over the last six years of his life and makes his relationship with Jim Hutton a footnote. The film wraps up very neatly. Too neatly. The whole ending, Mercury resolving with his father, his family watching him on TV, his friends and family’s teary reaction shots are all a little too Hollywood.
While the emotional attempt is appreciated, these things are most earnestly earned in the quiet character moments of day to day life that this film seemingly did not have the time for.
Aside from these issues, the film is well acted in the quiet scenes that are present and definitely in the scenes of performances and general hype. Rami Malek does everything in his power to capture the charisma and mannerisms of Mercury and does a damn good job of it.
The cast “Bohemian Rhapsody” have a natural banter that bands often do making these larger than life figure come off as personable and genuine. The supporting cast was generally on the strong side, but Aidan Gillen playing John Reid may cause some viewers to have immediate suspicions based on the similarity to Gillen’s portrayal of Petyr Baelish in “Game of Thrones.” Mike Myers’ role felt like it was meant to be a bit of a cameo, but came off as pretty weak, not having used him to the best of his ability.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is flawed and incomplete as a biopic, but those who are not looking for anything deeper, just a fun time at the movies with a fantastic soundtrack will get exactly what they pay for.
Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson