Biographies are not usually my cup of tea. They often seem too concerned with getting the facts “right,” sacrificing creativity and limiting the filmmakers and actors in the process.
According to the distributor’s official text, Bohemian Rhapsody is “a celebration of the rock group Queen, their music, and above all, Freddie Mercury.” This is an apt description. Directors Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher, the latter replacing the former mid-production, have created less of a standard biography and more of an ode to Queen’s music, Mercury’s larger-than-life persona, and the band’s electrifying performances.
The film aims to be a spectacular visual and auditory experience, especially during the concert scenes (a theater with top-notch sound is highly recommended). The energy of Queen at their peak is effectively channeled into the film, making you feel as though you’re in the front row of a Live Aid concert, singing along with Freddie. It’s exhilarating, engaging, and at times, downright emotional. Yet, despite these strengths, something feels missing.
For those who have followed the development of Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s worth noting that Sacha Baron Cohen was initially slated to play Mercury. The project fell apart because the remaining members of Queen didn’t want a gritty, unflattering portrayal of their history. This viewpoint is evident in the final product. The film largely avoids delving into the less flattering aspects of Mercury’s life. For example, his terminal illness is barely touched upon, and the darker sides of his character are largely glossed over.
This lack of depth is most evident when the film touches on themes like Mercury’s promiscuity, his relationship with his conservative father, or his struggles with loneliness. These topics are ripe for exploration but are skirted around instead. While the film fulfills its promise of being a celebration, one can’t help but wonder about the untold, less glamorous aspects of Mercury and Queen’s history.
Despite these criticisms, the film has its merits. Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury is sure to garner him awards and nominations; he’s utterly convincing whether he’s on stage, at parties, or in quieter moments. The supporting cast, though not as prominently featured, also manage to steal scenes and closely resemble the real-life members of Queen.
Watch Bohemian Rhapsody For Free On Gomovies.