by Hunter Johnson
Directed by Bryan Singer, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a new film starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. The film focuses on the life of Mercury and his position as lead singer of the band Queen.
Overall, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a well-made biopic that nicely demonstrates the legacy and brilliance of Queen. It’s also a film that feels the need to include as many Queen songs as it possibly can, essentially making the film an extended music video.
While it demonstrates very clearly that Queen avoided formula in their songwriting at all costs, this film doesn’t exactly do the same for itself. It hits almost every beat that modern biopics hit and it really isn’t all too original. But at the same time, this film isn’t really trying to be original. It’s mainly desiring to tell the tale of Freddie Mercury, and since that story has never been told in film, it succeeds as a highly enjoyable and traditional biopic.
The real star of this film though is Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Malek steals every single scene he’s in. He completely encapsulates the character of Mercury and he makes the film ten times better by being so mesmerizing to watch. Not only does he contribute to several of the scenes featuring Mercury’s incredible range of singing, but Malek also devoted months to perfectly capture the mannerisms and attitude of how Mercury moved and talked. Rami Malek is nothing less than brilliant in this film.
Lucy Boynton plays Mary Austin, Mercury’s girlfriend. Boynton recently portrayed one of the leading characters in “Sing Street,” and she yet again hits it out of the park with her performance in this film. She brings a quiet yet bold performance to this character, and that’s saying a lot when she has to play against the show-stealing Rami Malek.
Outside of Mercury, the band of Queen is made up of Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon. These actors all fantastically portray their well-known musician counterparts and all bring a lot of further depth to this film.
While the talent in front of the screen is very clear and engaging, it’s the talent behind the screen that is more difficult to pinpoint. While Bryan Singer is credited as director, the process of making this film was a long and difficult one. Studios have been looking at different directors for a while and although they finally landed on having Singer direct, he eventually got fired before filming was finished and Dexter Fletcher (the director of the upcoming Elton John biopic, “Rocketman”) was brought on board to finish filming. But when all was said and done, Singer was still credited as director because he did the majority of the filming.
The music itself is utilized well in this film, although it’s pretty obvious that the producers made sure every Queen hit ever released was included with this film. Fortunately, those hits are still great songs to this day, so most audiences won’t be complaining about hearing every Queen hit in the span of two hours.
Overall, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a highly enjoyable movie to watch. Some viewers perhaps are looking for a more in-depth look at the darker life of Freddie Mercury, but most audiences will be content with a by-the-numbers feel good film with a whole lot of music. But all that said, the movie isn’t afraid to be honest with Mercury’s life. Sure, it could’ve spent even more time on that aspect of the film, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed there. Besides, most audiences don’t want a phychological experiment of a Queen biopic. This film pleases the crowds rather than the critics, and that’s all right.
Hunter Johnson is a sophomore theatre major and an arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He spends his time acting on stage, reading and watching Star Wars, and occasionally doing homework.