Bohemian Rhapsody covers the story of the rise of Queen and Freddie Mercury leading up to their famous Live Aid performance in 1985 accompanied by the presence of their incredible discography.
Give me a good musical biopic and I’m all in, thankfully, what we have here is a great biopic that makes the most of an engaging musical journey and features Queen’s top hits throughout. The story is something I didn’t know a tonne about going into it so it was good to have some surprises around each corner involving Freddie and his relationships with members in and out of the band. The film follows a pretty standard biopic formula in its pacing and progression but the formula works for me and so it didn’t bother me one bit. It really is an interesting plot that touches on some major themes, topics, and struggles relating to Freddie’s life that ride emotional highs and lows. Despite going through the emotional highs and lows the film remains a genuinely fun time throughout with subtle bits of humour here and there that work and don’t feel forced at all.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the first two acts which depicted the rise of Queen to a prominent presence in the music industry. It was fast paced, to the point, and had me wholly invested in seeing how they built their empire. The third act is where the film did lose me for little while. The time between the beginning of the third act and the beginning of the final big event didn’t grab be as much. The pace here drops, not a considerable amount is going on, and I started to feel the lengthiness of the runtime. I guess this dip does make sense in relation to where the story is at this point but I wasn’t enjoying the ride as much. But it closes out so strong you almost forget about that earlier dip as the final 15-20 minutes gave me literal goosebumps, hands down one of the best scenes and sequences of the year.
In terms of the performances there were most certainly good ones in here but unfortunately none will be talked about because Rami Malek‘s performance as Freddie Mercury is one of, if not the best of the year and should make an impression at the Academy Awards. He disappears completely into the role of Freddie and nails the performance right down to the subtle mannerisms. He commands all the attention when he is on-screen and emulates the enthusiasm, star-power, and eccentric nature of the legendary musician. But there are other good performances in here, Lucy Boynton I enjoy in everything she’s in and that’s no different here as she delivers a good emotional performance as Mary Austin. Aiden Gillen makes an impression in a limited role as John Reid but is overshadowed by other roles. As for the other Queen members, Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) are also good in supporting roles and in many scenes do compliment Malek’s performance well.
But the other major star of the show is the music which you don’t need to be a major fan of Queen to have heard. All or many of their timeless classics appear here and you get a look into the behind the scenes of what went into creating some of them. Every time one of their songs come on it’s hard to sit still and not at least tap to the infectious beats because they all just severely lighten the mood. Surprisingly, Bryan Singer (of X-Men (2000) fame) directs this film and he does a great job tying everything together, weaving the music in, and making certain scenes a spectacle that will be remembered from 2018.
In the end, Bohemian Rhapsody will rock you whether you are a die-hard fan of Queen or not. The story has enough content to keep you engaged despite the film losing that interest early in the third act. It’s not going to be the most factual representation of events but it has been adapted well for the big screen. Rami Malek’s performance and the final 20 minutes are worth the price of admission alone. Definitely plenty of fun to be had with this one so certainly recommend it to any music fans.