Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen is arguably one of the greatest rock bands of all time. But of course, you already knew that.

From my perspective, my least favorite from them is “We Are the Champions,” because it’s usually played in movies and shows when big shots win and make the losers feel pathetic. At least that’s how I felt when watching “You Again.” I loathe that song.

But their best work is obviously “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I love the way the song uses piano keys, opera, ballet, and rock; and in the 6 minutes, we’re having a ball. The most memorable movies I’ve seen to have used this song are “Wayne’s World” with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey singing it in the car, and “Suicide Squad,” which used it at the end during a prison montage. And I can’t forget “Under Pressure” or “We Will Rock You.” Those two have brilliant beats-ones that stick to you forever like glue.

But enough about me.

The movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” focuses on how Freddie Mercury (1946-1991), the lead singer, got into the band and their success. Unfortunately, as much as I love the song, this movie isn’t “My Best Friend.” In fact, it’s probably one of the most lackluster biopics I’ve ever seen.

We begin in 1970, when young Freddie (Rami Malek), originally named Farrokh Bulsara, writes songs and dreams of fame. He meets a rock group, whose lead singer just quit. The band also consists of guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and bass guitarist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello). And the movie continues with how they make their classic hits, and how Freddie finds out he’s bisexual.

I’ve had my share of great music biopics like “Walk the Line” or “Straight Outta Compton,” but apparently, “Bohemian Rhapsody” isn’t one of them. Director Bryan Singer has done a depressing job telling us the story of Queen, and cares only about Freddie Mercury. Sure, out of everything else, Malek gives the best performance in the movie as Freddie Mercury with his hairstyles, mustache, sunglasses, accent, dialogue, and vulnerability. He almost looks like the real deal. But what about the rest of the group? They’re all here and there.

The cast also includes Lucy Boyton (“Sing Street”) as Mercury’s girlfriend; Allen Leach, Aidan Gillen, and Tom Hollander as the band’s managers; and Mike Myers (back on the screen for the first time in about a decade) as a cynical EMI executive. I was really looking forward to Myers’ cameo, but he’s poorly written and poorly played here. The love story here is all mishmash, and I can’t read the managers. This movie doesn’t care about them, and so I stopped.

Great songs can be passed on from one movie to another, so I can’t give this movie credit for the classic hits. I can hear them anytime and anywhere, not in just one movie. I don’t want anyone else accusing me of not being a Queen fan, because I am. But I want you to acknowledge that their biopic can’t just rely on the style or Malek’s performance as Mercury. It needs pacing, truth, and charisma.

This movie looks like it’s “Under Pressure.”


Categories: Biography, Drama, Music

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