A Review of Bohemian Rhapsody

The film Bohemian Rhapsody was released on Nov. 2, over four decades after the song topped the UK Singles Chart. However, the movie, despite its positives, ultimately fails to live up to its potential.

The film follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as he and the other members of Queen form what have become the band’s signature sound, all leading up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985. With a topic as fascinating as Freddie Mercury and his various struggles, the film had tremendous potential to make something at least half as great as the man himself. However, the script spends the majority of its 2 hour and 13 minute runtime staying comfortably in the shadow of most every other musical biopic in existence. The film, despite such an extraordinary topic, chooses for some reason to be aggressively mediocre.

An example of this is Mike Myers’ character of Ray Foster, a record executive that was fictionalized for the movie. In the movie, the character is against the idea of Queen experimenting with its music and wants the group to maintain the same sound for every song it writes. The members of Queen are opposed to this, and break off contact with Foster, to which he retaliates that the band will never be famous, which the audience knows to be false. This type of character is seen in many musical biopics, and it is a testament to the film’s unfortunate laziness that it chooses to use this archetype as a way to provide a shallow sense of conflict for the main characters.

One major standout though is Rami Malek. For a movie featuring Freddie Mercury to work, the lead performance has to have just as much energy and gusto as Mercury did in real life. Malek undoubtedly knows this, and his performance is refreshingly over the top, complete with enough charisma and extravagant dancing to effectively bring Mercury to life on the big screen.

The performances all around are spectacular, particularly those from Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello who portray the remaining members of the band. Watching them all perform together, along with Malek, is similar to watching a real life Queen music video and will be especially satisfying to watch for long time fans of the band.

Another positive aspect of the film is the closing few minutes of it, which are taken up entirely by the band’s performance at Live Aid. The whole film is meant to build up to this momentous event in the group’s history, and although most of the movie does not always work, the recreation of this event is a satisfying ending to it. The performance is long and grand, and the performers, Malek in particular, are acting their hearts out. These last moments show the kind of film Bohemian Rhapsody could have been if it had decided to take some risks and not follow the formula of almost every other musical biopic.

Despite Malek’s performance as well as the final Live Aid show, Bohemian Rhapsody does not have much to say, which is unfortunate for a film with such a wonderfully fascinating subject as Freddie Mercury. Nevertheless, the movie shows that his story is still just as engaging as it was 40 years ago, and Malek’s performance will hopefully allow the singer’s legacy to live on.

What do you think of the movie? Make sure to leave a comment below!