You had me at outrageously tight pants and Rock’n’Roll
This movie is the cinematic anthem to the iconicity of Queen and their runaway success, celebrating both their music and their personal conquests. It gives a more intimate perspective on the team-up of a dentist, an astrophysicist, an electrician and a baggage handler. Roger Taylor, Brian May, John Deacon and Freddie Mercury got a filmic memorial that will make you head-bang in your seats.
Bohemian Rhapsody offers behind the scenes looks into the fame and furiosity of four individuals who knew they were destined to be great. A classic rock flick, yes, musical numbers galore, sure, but also a thoughtful reflection on their personal struggles. The story takes you through love and break ups, loyalty and betrayal and shows you how incredibly fierce Queen manoeuvred their way through the corporate world of the music business – and the fashion world as well.
To adamant fans it’s no surprise that the music carries a big part of this movie. Marc Martel is the uncanny Mercury clone who revisited iconic songs like “Under Pressure”, “I Want to Break Free” and “Somebody to Love”. For the physical performance, you can count on Rami Malek to sweep you off your feet. Malek masters the challange of portraying Freddie Mercury’s essential physicality and specific mannerisms. Veins are popping, muscles are flexing and teeth are flashing.
The movie also accomplishes to reserve moments for each of the other band members to shine. Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) hold the wild and sometimes undpredictable nature of Freddie at bay, with unwavering loyalty and determination to fulfill their musical vision. Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor) is the one who stood out for me, personally. His tense display when fighting with Rami or feeling the thrill of performing live had me fixated on his face the whole time.
Freddie Mercury was not only one of the most legendary performers of all time, he had all kinds of baggage to carry with him. From drug abuse to petrifying loneliness and toxic ego – this movie captures it all. Born as Farrokh Bulsara, he began to hide his origins early on by adopting a new name and fighting to get out of his “poor boy from a poor family” existence. The battle of defining or admitting one’s identity is gaining bigger and bigger arenas, especially in LGBTQ+ communities. Bohemian Rhapsody is stepping into one of those public arenas, offering Mercury’s lifestory to younger audiences in particular, as a lesson, as an inspiration.
For Freddie Mercury, performing was a calling and he gave everything he had for it until the very end. The part of his life dealing with AIDS is handled with love and care here. But this isn’t only the story of Freddie Mercury, this isn’t a documentary about his life. It is a jubilation of the achievements of Queen, all of them together. “The show must go on” was definitely one of their mantras so the movie doesn’t dwell too long on any setbacks. Their performance at the Live Aid concert is one of the most excillarating and uplifting experiences I’ve ever had in a cinema. The shots in this movie triumph old recordings of the real thing in that they are able to present viewpoints that will make you feel like fireworks are going off inside your torso.
Goosebumps washed over me in sync with the audience making waves. Like Queen will tell you in the movie, their music belongs to the people. Their resonance, excitement, iconicity and joy of experimenting make up the best scenes in the film. Go on, let Bohemian Rhapsody take you on an electrifying ride you won’t soon forget!