'Bohemian Rhapsody' Is As Entertaining As Queen, But Not As Exciting

Actor Rami Malek's depiction of Freddie Mercury is can't miss

October 30, 2018
Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

Alex Bailey TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


Bohemian Rhapsody is the biopic that classic rock fans, and really fans of all music, have been waiting for. Highlighted by a career-defining performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody unfortunately falls flat in some other areas.

The powerful saga of Queen is told from its origin story through its 1985 Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in London, with the sole focus on Mercury. Guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Taylor) and bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) round out the foursome, whose story is told in an airbrushed, almost paint-by-numbers fashion.

The finished product switched directors halfway through filming, so its predictable that the story sort of jumps from place to place. While expecting to get a peek into the wild side of Freddie Mercury's initially secretive gay lifestyle, that part of his life is depicted as tame.

Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), Mercury's one-time fiancée and lifelong best friend, is Freddie's early-career supporter, even through the long shaggy hair and porn-star mustache. She knows Freddie is gay, but he says he's bi-sexual. Debate still rages on with Queen fans.

The short of the story: it was almost like Freddie's sex, drug, and rock 'n' roll lifestyle was seen from Mary's perspective in Bohemian Rhapsody. Filtered. For a rumored R-rated lifestyle to fit into a PG-13 movie, it makes sense.

Now for the good parts! The soundtrack is insatiably fun. Queen's notoriously catchy songs are on full display, and despite some corny 'how-this-song-came-to-be' cutaways and studio sessions, what really stands out is the "live" performances.

While Rami Malek does an incredible job mimicking Freddie Mercury's on-stage persona, its the five octave vocals (sung by Marc Martel, and mixed with original Mercury vocals) that really stand out. From the opening cut of 'Somebody to Love,' to the early 'Killer Queen' montage, through the piecing together of 'Bohemian Rhapsody,' every song gets your feet stomping.

As for Malek, again, he nails the on-stage persona. If you're hesitant after reading this review because the story won't reveal anything new about Queen, throw it out the window and go to see Mercury come back to life on-stage. Freddie's sexuality is loud, and so is Rami Malek's impersonation of him. Spot on.

Don't miss out on the Mike Meyers cameo! You might miss it, as he's almost recognizable. He's worth a few laughs in his offices at EMI Records where he plays record executive Ray Foster. The entire mood of the movie is light in these scenes. Its worth a few laughs, and much needed through the course of the film.

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody may fall a bit short of the song of the same name, which was an operatic and rock 'n' roll mash-up opus for the ages, but it does Mercury and the music of Queen justice, despite its broad strokes.

Ben at the Box Office Rating: 3.5 out of 5 buckets of popcorn