Thursday, November 1, 2018

Film Review - Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Bohemian Rhapsody was directed by Bryan Singer (though Dexter Fletcher did finish the final 2 weeks of the shoot) and stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury the front man for Queen and the movie chronicles their rise to fame and culminates with their thunderous performance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

I was very excited to see this movie due to my love of Queen’s music, Bryan Singer’s 4 X-Men films and those amazing trailers for this movie which felt like mini pop videos in their own right but some of the early response also had me nervous about it, would it be another film from this year to bite the dust or would it be one that rocks me.

Well it is actually the latter as I really, really enjoyed this movie and I have to start with Mr Malek as Freddie as he simply IS Mr Mercury on screen, he embodies every aspect of the man so well that he should storm home with the best actor Academy Award early next year as this is the type of performance that that Oscar should embody, a performance that commands the screen, takes the film and runs with it and carries the whole thing on their shoulders.

He effortlessly captures the loneliness, the sense of wanting to belong, the isolation and the temperament of the man as well as the iconic showman that you just cannot take your eyes off him whenever he is on screen and when he is doing the Live Aid recreation it is simply electric and I was definitely buzzing after the film ended.

Speaking of those concert sequences they are terrific fun and look and sound great on a big cinema screen and during those scenes I couldn’t help but want to grab my empty bottle of water and pretend it was a microphone as they have such energy to them that it feels like your in that audience and the Live Aid recreation in particular really shines and I did get a little emotional during that climatic sequence.

But aside from Mr Malek, a lot of the films other performances work as well, Tom Hollander was good as Jim Beach the long time lawyer/manager of the group and a producer on this movie though at times I did think he felt like a stand in for Michael Fassbender who Singer worked with on Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, Lucy Bonython from Sing Street is also really good as Mary Austin Freddie’s long time friend and companion and Ben Hardy, Gwynlym Lee and Joseph Mazzello (the little boy from Jurassic Park) are also quite good as the other band members.

Now comes sadly the issues though these are minor issues for me and that is the script by Anthony McCarten which takes a lot of liberties in terms of the timeline of events as shown in the film as it crams in a lot within a 134 minute runtime and for me it worked well enough but I did think that at times the film dragged on with those events and shuffled around a little too much prior to the 1985 segments but there is one scene in particular and I don’t want to say much more that really got to my heartstrings.

And so that was my review of Bohemian Rhapsody and I really enjoyed this movie despite some issues with the timeline shuffling in the script but musical biopics are tough to make when their based on real life musicians as the real people will have to be involved to get the clearance for the songs and that means sacrifices have to be made unless you do an Eddie and the Cruisers type film but all that aside I do highly recommend this movie, 4 out of 5.

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