“Bohemian Rhapsody” tells the story of the rise to prominence of late ‘70s and ‘80s rock band Queen, and their troubled frontman Freddie Mercury. The film examines the band’s unconventional methods along with Mercury’s struggles with inner demons and finding acceptance. While the movie does a lot of things well, it does few things great. Visually, the movie is nothing spectacular, but it does have its moments— whether it be the Live Aid performance the film starts out with, or an extravagant party scene. Performance wise, there is only one standout. That is Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Make no mistake, this is Malek’s movie, and he shows that he can act with the best of them. This is by no means your standard lookalike biopic portrayal along the lines of Ashton Kutcher in Jobs and David Oyelowo in Selma. Malek puts himself in the conversation with Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash for best portrayal of a musician in a biopic.
Another highlight of the film (which should come as no surprise) is the music. Queen has good music, therefore the transitive property states that a movie about Queen will have good music, and that is the case. Going into the film, I was certainly worried having read all the reports about the behind the scenes issues with director Bryan Singer, who was fired with two weeks remaining on the shooting schedule.
All that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised with “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a whole. While the film is nothing revolutionary, Malek’s performance makes for a fun watch and could certainly earn him an Oscar nomination. That, combined with solid pacing, excellent music, and an interesting subject makes for a movie that is a fun theater watch but, does little to advance the overall genre of biopics.
Jacob Hales, Features Writer