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Bohemian Rhapsody Review – Sanitized

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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Directed By: Bryan Singer

Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander

Language: English

Bohemian Rhapsody is the long -awaited biopic of the British rock band Queen with the focus on their lead singer late Freddie Mercury. It has always been in the news because of the frequent changes of the cast, leading up to the firing of its director. Badly made, instead of a hard- hitting biopic it turns out to be a passionate obituary not befitting the life lived by Freddie Mercury.

In London in 1970, Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek), an Indian-British college student is working as baggage handler in an airport. He meets the visiting local band called smile and joins them as their lead singer after impressing them with his vocal range. Farrokh, guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) add bass guitarist Deacon (Joseph Mazzello). Farrokh rechristens himself as Freddie Mercury and the band as Queen.
They hire a new manager John “Miami” Reid (Aidan Gillen) and Freddie begins a relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton). Queen get experimental with their music and Freddie with his sexuality. Queen hits the road, earn their success, become famous but Freddie struggles with his flamboyant personal life and many partners. Freddie’s struggles spill over the band and they threaten to disintegrate. Bohemian Rhapsody ends with the recreation of the Live Aid concert in Wembley in 1985.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a two part movie- one in which it highlights Freddie Mercury’s personal struggle. In the other it talks about Queen’s journey highlighting all their major events. The journey is a breeze and doesn’t provide any detail of the lives of any of the members except Freddie (even though Brian May and Roger Taylor were creative consultants for the movie). Freddie’s life has overpowered other Queen members’ in the movie as in life.
Bohemian Rhapsody is disappointing even for the music lovers. I really wanted to know the inspirations, the experiences behind their music. The events are not built up and the scenes aren’t coherent: the band is pissed with Freddie’s lateness and then suddenly they are creating music. Without the depth of feeling and the source behind their lyrics their music feels whimsical.

Freddie Mercury’s personal struggle drags the movie down and unfortunately is awarded more time. All the famous artist’s troublesome past had been an inspiration behind their work and Freddie is no different. Freddie at the time was dealing with his Parsi heritage, his queer identity and his contraction of HIV. The depth of complexities and emotions making him the person he was, is missing. His relationships with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) and Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) are not detailed.

Rami Malek as Freddie is mind blowing. A true testament to his performance is the fact that I can say he has lived like Freddie in the movie. The demeanor, swagger and the style, it is a performance of a lifetime. He deserves the Oscar for bringing Freddie back into our lives. The rest of the cast is marginalized and doesn’t contribute much. It is astonishing that the movie produced by the rest of the surviving members of Queen have marginalized themselves in the movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody culminates with the Live aid Performance. They have tried to recreate the performance as it is. Every detail is captured from the Pepsi cups on the piano to the Freddie routine. It is a goosebumps producing recreation.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a comfort movie, a dedication to Freddie by the rest of the members of Queen. Sadly I wanted it to be more than just that. Watch it and please share your rating above.

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