Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

  • Score: 3/5
  • Genre: 3/5
  • Did I enjoy it: Mostly.
  • Did it move me: Here and there (but definitely not everywhere).
  • Rewatch:  Could, eventually, but not planning to.
  • Art/Pop: Pretty Pop
  • Noteworthy/Significant: Academy Award for Rami Malek

Bohemian Rhapsody is a mildly stylish recounting of the rise of the rock band Queen and the life of flamboyant frontman Freddy Mercury. It is limited, though, because it appears uncertain of whether it wants to be the story of the band, which is still playing to this day despite the movie ending in 1985, or the story of Mercury, whose potentially interesting multinational youth we only hear snippets of through dialog, and who didn’t actually die until about 5 years after the movie ends, and during which time he kept, you know, doing stuff. So, it isn’t quite the full Queen story, but a big chunk of it, and it isn’t quite the Freddy Mercury story, but a big chunk of it.

I don’t know, perhaps in a subtle artistic nod, the film’s lack of a coherent identity is supposed to be reflective of Freddy Mercury’s apparent struggles with his own identify, but I doubt it. Brian Singer is a talented director, several of whose films I highly regard, but the majority of Bohemian Rhapsody lacks a certain focus and energy, and seems to be carried aloft more by Queen’s songs than by chemistry, dramatic tension and gripping writing. In fact, the scenes of the film seem like a string of Queen’s and Freddy Mercury’s personal greatest hits, as randomly assembled by the team as your average “best of” album is by some record company middle manager.

Rami Malek is an intense and talented actor who brings a vibrancy to the role, but often seems slightly out of phase with the larger movement of the movie. Some of the best scenes involve him and long time friend/girlfriend Mary Austin, played by Lucy Boynton, as well as the studio scenes of the band working. A nod also to Allen Leach of Downton Abbey fame, who gets to play the bad guy, and does so well.

The music of Queen goes far, but there is simply something missing from Bohemian Rhapsody. Easy come, easy go, I will let this film go.

Review Date: 07/08/2019

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