Movie Poster for Bohemian Rhapsody. Poster from Wikimedia.
The long awaited Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody released in American theaters on November 2nd, 2018.
Queen is one of the most beloved bands of all time, so this movie had enormous shoes to fill. This movie has been in development since 2010, when Sacha Baron Cohen was cast as Freddie Mercury. Cohen wanted the movie to go deep into the life of Mercury and discuss and explore the dark components of his social life.
Due to creative differences between Cohen and the producers, Cohen left the project in 2013. The project remained in stasis, until Rami Malek was cast as Mercury in 2016 and filming began in 2017 with Bryan Singer directing. Even though Singer was fired late 2017 due to clashes with the cast and crew, he was given sole director credit, and Dexter Fletcher was hired to complete the film.
Bohemian Rhapsody follows the life of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury leading until Queen’s Live-Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985. The casting for this movie was terrific and Malek delivers a sensational performance as Mercury. The character of Freddie Mercury is very complex and it is very hard to have an actor replicate him exactly, however Malek puts his own spin on the character and it is extremely enjoyable to watch.
The rest of the cast is fantastic as well, with Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello playing Brian May (lead guitarist), Roger Taylor (drummer) and John Deacon (bass guitarist) respectively. All these actors looked the part, however each stereotypically were given basic personalities. Hardy is the comical relief in the film and Mazzello and Lee are both quiet but necessary characters in the film, with Mazzello in particular getting the least character development of the three. This is not an issue with the film, however Queen fans may get annoyed with how basic and waterdowned they portrayed the other members other than Mercury.
The aspect of the film that makes it standout is the soundtrack. The main focus of the movie is establishing Queen’s journey through the musical industry and thus the audience gets to see some of the magic between the creation of hit songs such as “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You”, “Another One Bites The Dust”, and plenty more. Along with the creation of many songs, we also get to see many performances as the movie shows Queen on tour which eventually leads to the fantastic Live-Aid concert recreation.
The director and crew did a great job recreating the numerous memorizing concerts that the band performed and did a terrific job of bringing Queen to life. Queen touched the lives of many people due to their unique style of creating and performing songs, and I do not doubt that this movie will bring joy to every Queen fan. While there were historical inaccuracies concerning the timeline of production of songs and of personal events in Mercury’s life, this movie is still a great dive into their life. It doesn’t dwell and explore the dark, traumatic moments in Mercury’s life, and while that may seem like it lowers the influence of this film, to me it makes it more accessible to people unfamiliar with Queen.
The story of Queen and of Freddie Mercury isn’t a story that can be exactly recreated in film, and though Mercury’s early, eventual death is a tragedy for the music industry, their story never truly ends. The legacy that Queen left behind will outlive the terrible parts of their life. This movie doesn’t need to go into detail into Mercury’s dark personal life because that is not what he should be remembered for. He touched the lives of many through his voice and Bohemian Rhapsody does a terrific job of delivering that message to the audience.
I would highly recommend this movie to anybody who is a Queen fan and even if you are not familiar with their work this movie will give you a great insight into their journey and show you the meaning behind the band Queen.