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Bohemian Rhapsody

Sometimes the drama that goes into making a movie can eclipse the actual story being told. However, when the film you’re trying to make is about the rock band Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury, it’s hard to overshadow them at all.

Bohemian Rhapsody is essentially a biopic of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), as he rises from living in London and working at Heathrow, to becoming the lead singer of one of the most popular bands in history.

It’s hard to talk about this movie without mentioning the off-screen drama. Bryan Singer was the contracted director for this film, but he was fired from set with only two weeks left to shoot, apparently he had clashed with Malek and would sometimes refuse to show up on set (Singer claims his father was sick). Regardless, 20th Century Fox hired Dexter Fletcher to finish filming and carry the film through post-production; the result is a patched and frayed film.

Queen and Mercury were such mythical figures, that to retell their story, and have an emotional analysis of their composing, is a hard job to do even with one sane director. Because of the leadership turmoil, Bohemian Rhapsody ends up being a superficial summary that only intermittently questions the “whys” in its characters’ decisions. There are some scenes that drag too long (like the final Live Aid concert), some which are too short, and there’s even an underlying feeling that there are complete scenes missing. The result is a jumble of themes introduced at the beginning, of which only a few make it to the end.

However, this film had a big victory with casting Rami Malek. The Mr. Robot actor has already enraptured us in that USA show, and in Bohemian Rhapsody he dives so deep and passionately into his role that you become completely enthralled. Malek curates even the slightest detail into his performance, from the flick of an eye to the grip on a microphone. The actor is so charismatic in the lead role that he somehow smoothens the edges of the choppy editing and adds some form of rhythm to the plot.

I was a bit disappointed that “Show Must Go On” was not shown in the film. Mercury wrote the song with the knowledge that he would soon die of AIDS, as such it felt perfectly poised for a dramatic ending, but clearly the filmmakers had bigger problems on their minds. In the end, Bohemian Rhapsody is a jumble of a movie that is made sense of thanks to its leading man, who brings some form of gravitas and dignity to the dazzling story being told.



About Young Critic

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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