Bohemian Rhapsody takes on the life of the legendary rock band Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), his relationship with the other band members, his family and his lovers while also throwing some light on the band’s journey from its inception till Mercury’s death.
Positive Points: –
- Rami Malek’s performance! Nothing else in the movie comes remotely close to the finesse of Malek’s rendition of Mercury.
- The final Live Aid show and again Malek’s performance in it.
- Despite a tepid start, this flick only gets better with time and ends with a blast!
Negative Points: –
- In their focus on Mercury, the makers ignored the most important (potential) aspect of the film and i.e. the band itself on whose song they named the movie.
- The first act and the initial parts of the second act are simply bad, to the extent that people might consider leaving the theatre rather than see a mockery of their beloved musical stars.
- Bohemian Rhapsody lacks a universal appeal which means its effect will largely remain confined within the fans of Queen and Mercury but it won’t be surprising if even they feel offended by the film’s half-hearted approach in depicting their favourite band.
The General Aspects: –
Filming bigger productions isn’t a five-finger exercise because of the heavy studio interferences, something that’s prominently seen in Hollywood. Hence, my criticism to Bohemian Rhapsody’s jerry-built screenplay and subsequent rickety premise won’t be restricted to directors Bryan Singer-Duncan Fletcher’s job or Anthony McCarten’s screenplay alone. The film is patently terrible in its initial phase because the makers seemed in a rush to put Queen on top ignoring their struggles and issues in their early phases. It even disregards the other band members and their contribution to the band and sadly, this ignorance stays till its end as the film pivots on Mercury’s life alone. Talking about Mercury’s story, it has its moments, both ups and downs and it definitely has a strong appeal especially Mercury’s relationship with Mary which is one of its most positive facets. But the screenplay leaves a lot more to ask for viz. Mercury’s other relationships, relationship with his parents, and the like. Bohemian Rhapsody seems more like a cluster of different random events in Mercury and Queen’s career which try their level best to tell a proper story but remain somewhat incoherent. For a layman who has minimum knowledge about the band and its members, the film offers no special insight of the same and that’s definitely a poor example of filmmaking.
All of this doesn’t imply that Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t entertaining in any way. Malek’s performance and its musical sequences are a treat to watch. If there’s one thing that the movie gets right apart from the aforementioned pair, then it’s Mercury’s struggles as a human being. His pining for Mary, inability to make friends even with his fellow band members as well as his personal and professional insecurities have been well highlighted reinvigorating the emotional strength of the movie that was clearly absent in its first half. Interestingly, things get better and better as time passes and ends with the incredible Live Aid performance which made Queen immortal. No matter how you felt for it in the beginning, the magniloquent ending is more than satisfying for the viewer to leave the theatre with glee and possibly even goosebumps.
There are many actors who appear in the movie of which some are prolific like Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Mike Meyers and Rami Malek himself but apart from Malek and to some extent Lucy Boynton, no one gets much of a chance to showcase his or her acting chops effectively. So, the movie depended completely upon Malek and boy does he perform! He doesn’t just act but wholly transforms himself as Freddie Mercury and sort of copies most of his gimmicks and moves, something which is largely discernible in the final act. But that’s not all about his performance because he was required to portray various kinds of emotions having radical ranges and he does that seemingly effortlessly. He literally saves a sinking ship and steers it throughout its journey. Malek’s performance is not just great but also one to be remembered for long! My bets on the upcoming Oscar’s are on him!
Final Verdict: –
There isn’t much that one should expect from Bohemian Rhapsody because apart from Malek’s performance and its musical sequences (which in turn depend heavily upon Queen’s legacy), there’s hardly anything in to get impressed of. It’s still enjoyable and that’s because it improves as it progresses and ends grandly but it could have a zillion times better, and that might hurt both the lovers of cinema and music.