Directed by: Bryan Singer
Written by: Anthony McCarten
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers
Runtime: 134 min
A foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet.
This film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, cementing the legacy of a band that was always more like a family, and who continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.
I didn't know anything about how this movie was performing in the box office or how critics were receiving it. I was blown away with the number of mixed reviews because I genuinely didn't expect so many divisive opinions. This is one of the best films of the year, even if I do have a couple of issues with it, but apparently, a lot of people can't even positively review it, giving it terrible reputation.
So, where can I start? Let's go with Rami Malek. Everyone knows an Oscar nomination is coming, but right now, he's the top contender to win the award, maybe tied with Bradley Cooper. If you watch Mr. Robot, you know the ability Rami has to turn himself into a completely different person, incorporating his character's personality like very few other actors can do.
From the surprising physical similarity with Freddie Mercury to every tiny little detail of how he moved, talked or sang, Rami nails his role. His presence on stage extraordinarily resembles Freddie's, and his attitude is incredibly alike. As expected, he carries the entire movie on his shoulders, but he does receive help from an amazing cast, who provide undeniable chemistry which delivered some great moments.
Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor) and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon) complete the band and Queen are born. The interactions between the four members are priceless and extremely entertaining. From the funny banter to the most emotional and dramatic scenes, Bryan Singer does a great job directing the actors on what and how they should do certain bits.
The most common negative that a lot of critics are pointing out is the fact that the film doesn't delve deep into Freddie's personal life. Honestly, those reviews seem so out-of-place that they remembered me of the First Man's issue with not showing the American flag on the Moon. These two themes have nothing to do with the purpose of each movie's story. Bohemian Rhapsody is a musical biopic of one of the biggest bands of all-time.
Obviously, it's always going to address its lead singer's life. Every film needs a protagonist. With that in mind, I think Anthony McCarten's screenplay is very well-balanced. It doesn't go in-depth with Freddie's issues with the last years of his life, and that was definitely a good call. His memory has to be respected and honored, not trashed by a movie who wanted to make him look like a male prostitute.
Actually, that is one of my minor problems with the film. In the third act, too much time is wasted with Freddie's life and him dealing with his own sexuality, drugs and everything else. A part of it should have been cut and its time given to develop the band's backstory, and continue with one of the movie's best attributes: the songs' lyrics. Learning why and how the lyrics for so many famous songs came together is a blessing and something I won't ever forget. I was already a Queen's fan (who isn't?!), but now I'm even more.
So, story and genre-wise, I think Bryan Singer was able to produce a success. I wasn't bothered by some less positive points in the screenplay, and as a musical biopic, I love it. They took Queen's music and used it as a fantastic soundtrack. One that creates so many epic and memorable moments that I can't wait to watch again at home. Every major song is powerfully delivered, whether by a stage performance (sadly, the lip-sync could be a lot better) or in a recording studio.
The build-up for one of the biggest shows of all-time (if not, THE one) is remarkably well-executed and those final 15-20 minutes of the film are chill-inducing. I felt like crying, but my excitement and enthusiasm was so much that I just couldn't. Like I wrote above, the lip-sync didn't always work throughout the movie, but in this last concert, it was seamless. Visually and sound-wise, it's one of the most impactful musical moments of cinema of the last few years.
I just wish they allocated more time to the remaining members of the band and to the group itself. Freddie Mercury is the front and center of the story, but Queen has to surpass that. Technically, I can't seem to find any missteps. Tonally well-balanced, the pacing is adequate, and the sound editing and mixing are exceptional. Watched this film on Dolby Atmos for the first time and I didn't regret it!
All in all, Bohemian Rhapsody is a beautiful musical biopic of one of the biggest bands of all-time and its unbelievable lead singer. Rami Malek books himself an Oscar ticket and maybe even a golden statue due to its perfect representation of Freddie Mercury. With a great chemistry, the cast delivers a lot of entertaining moments, both musically and dramatically. Brilliant use of an incredible soundtrack which culminates on an epic reenactment of the famous 1985's show. Just wished that more time would have been given to the rest of the band and the band itself, plus some better filmed lip-sync. Minor issues that don't overwhelm (not by a long shot) a well-written story and an excellent direction from Bryan Singer. Go see it and enjoy!