REEL Review – Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Director: Bryan Singer | Runtime: 2h 14mins | Biography, Music, Drama

Leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid 1985, the film follows the birth of the band Queen. As the band make their way to stardom their lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) deals with his own personal life.

Music biopics are not a new concept, they have been around for a long time and for the most part are an interesting watch. As a bankable character study there isn’t really anyone better to use than a music star, their charisma and usually flawed lifestyle make them a thematic goldmine. Early in the 2000’s we saw Ray (2004) win Jamie Foxx his Oscar, and in more recent years we’ve seen films like Get on Up (2014) and Miles Ahead (2015) come and go, but with Bohemian Rhapsody it feels like the start of something different.

With upcoming biopics in the works, it seems we could see a new trend among Hollywood, cashing in on the lives of musical legends starting with the legendary Freddie Mercury. Playing the hits and riding on Rami Malek’s performance of the year, as a first biopic in the trend this is a safe win. But that’s all Bohemian Rhapsody feels like, a film giving Queen fans something to relish in rather than focus on the real trials and obstacles that both band and star Freddie Mercury had to overcome. Every time the film sets up an interesting conflict it automatically becomes obsolete by one of their greatest hits, take for example when the band is really hitting the heights of their career and Mercury’s behaviour is starting to wear thin, it all culminates to a five minute squabble which is quickly overcome by the band playing Another One Bites the Dust for the first time.

For all of things the film doesn’t do, it is important to look at what it does. Every time the band perform live you can really feel the atmosphere, mostly due to the direction and more specifically, Rami Malek. An already proven talent in TV, Malek takes to the big screen and not only gives the performance of his early career, but the performance of 2018. The body language, accent and look are all captured, but the greatest achievement is Malek’s raw charisma on screen, dominating scene after scene and oozing the same qualities on stage as the legend, Malek will be no doubt a force to be reckoned with in the coming award season.

You may see Bohemian Rhapsody as more of a glorified Greatest Hits album, but if you like Queen (and who doesn’t) you’ll no doubt have a great experience watching this. If you’re looking for something else however, watch it for one of the best performances from 2018. This is a film with a formula, but does so much for the legacy of Freddie Mercury.

Verdict:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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