Everyone is familiar with the name Queen. The English rock band formed in 1970 is one of the most recognized bands of all time. Weather you enjoy their music or not, everyone has heard at least one Queen song. I believe that our parents and elders have a big impact to the type of music that we listen to and enjoy. Growing up, I remember taking car rides with my folks and their would be a Queen song playing in the car. I was always drawn to the style that they played with. It was truly like nothing you had ever heard before.
Once I was in my teens, I explored my own taste in music, yet I still found myself listening to the music that my parents played when I was younger. So naturally, when I saw the first preview for Bohemian Rhapsody I was really excited. I turned to my wife and said “we are definitely going to see that”. Well I finally had a chance to see it, a few days after it premiered and here is my honest review of the film.
The film is great. The actors do an amazing job of embracing the roles of the characters that they are portraying. Freddie Mercury is portrayed by Rami Malek, and boy does Malek really capture the Mercury character. Malek is no stranger to being the main attraction in films, being nominated in the past for A-Lister awards including winning an Emmy for his role in the 2016 film “Mr. Robot.” I personally believe that Malek makes you feel as if that he is the real Mercury. From the way he speaks and walks, he really embraces the role. You can tell by the scenes in which Queen is performing on stage, and the way that Malek moved, is nearly identical to Mercury himself. I would not at all be surprised if Malek is nominated for a major award for this performance.
The film also does an amazing job at recreating the “Live Aid” concert from 1985. I re-watched the concert and the way that the band presents itself in the film is almost identical to how the real world version of the concert was. It was really nice to see so much work and effort be put into the recreation.
Now, as with any film, there are some bad parts. I feel as if the director could not decide how he wanted to show the story of Queen. Due to this, some of it was not historically correct. Most of the film is focused on Mercury and the other band mates are kind of lost in the shuffle. One of the most important scenes in the film, although not correct in the real world, is how Mercury met drummer Robert Taylor and guitarist Brian May, whom at the time were a part of the band Smile. Mercury meets the duo, who are not sure if they should proceed with their musical careers as their lead singer Tim Staffell has basically quit on them to pursue his own career. The scene continues with Mercury asking them to join the band, but then being denied by Robert Taylor due to his teeth, to which Mercury takes a step back and begins to sing, leaving both May and Taylor completely speechless. As I mentioned this was not the correct way that Queen met, but instead Mercury had actually already known the band before as he was friends with Stafell, and in the real world, when Stafell decided to leave Smile, it set up the opportunity for Mercury to become the lead singer.
Forgetting the correctness when compared to the real world, the next scene is a cut away to the band’s next concert, now featuring both Mercury and bass player John Deacon. I feel as if the directors failed to give us more of a back bone into how Queen, at least in the film, was officially formed. As I mentioned above, the other members of the band are lost in the scuffle. Although the directors and cast tried to make it about the band, it was clearly more about Mercury. I feel as if the Director and writers needed to fully embrace the movie being seeing from Mercury’s stand point or at least find a way for the audience to have a bigger connection with the other band mates.
My biggest critique on the movie is that it simply moves too fast. It’s understandable though, 21 years of history trimmed down into 2 hours is no easy task. Even with this, there are many important details and events that we miss out on. The movie shows us how Queen got away from it all to write their album “A night at the Opera” but fails to show us how the songs came to be. This is something that happens throughout the movie. A few scenes show the build up, only for the next scene to be some time after.
I don’t want to seem like a downer, because Bohemian Rhapsody is a great film. For someone that is looking to enjoy a movie about a great band and listen to their music throughout the film, you will not be disappointed. This is especially true if you can get past the historical inaccuracies. My final take on Bohemian Rhapsody is that it’s a great film with a great performance all around the board, but is slightly weighed down due to historical inaccuracies that die-hard Queen fans will not like.