Rami Malek’s performance will rock you, but the movie won’t

Alison Clair

Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury in new biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody.

Queen is one of the most iconic rock bands in history, with one of the most legendary lead singers the Rock n Roll scene has ever been graced with. Queen fans, young and old have been patiently waiting for this movie to arrive in cinemas. The trailer set us up for what could have been an award winning production, but, to my surprise it was the Oscar worthy acting, on behalf of Rami Malek which saved this movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody certainly had its ups and downs. Director Bryan Singer was fired from production just weeks before filming finished, and unfortunately the movie gives a rather dull depiction of what could have been the magnificent and messy journey that Freddie Mercury and his bandmates lived through. The movie gives a quick run-down of the fifteen years or so, when Queen emerged on the scene in the early 70s, to their incredible Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

The movie opens on the morning of Live Aid, but flashes back to 1970 where the story begins, with Freddie meeting the other members of the band outside a bar when their lead singer quits after a gig. The other band members are played, very well, by Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, and Gwilym Lee. The film follows on from this, through the years of Queen’s successes and failures, covering vaguely the writing process of all their hits like Killer Queen, We Will Rock You and of course Bohemian Rhapsody.

The closing scenes in this movie perfectly encapsulate everything at the Live Aid concert at Wembley. Aside from the shaky CGI crowd reconstruction, Malek’s performance was spot on. His routine is almost as captivating as Mercury’s himself. From the Radio Ga-Ga clap, to the iconic acapella sing-along with the crowd, it closed the movie on a high note, but not necessarily the right note.

The film ended quite abruptly, and, while it gave a brief account of Mercury discovering he had AIDS, and his coming out to his conservative family, the film seemed to skim through these significant parts of his life. Who Wants To Live Forever, a song written by Brian May and sang by Mercury, containing very poignant lyrics played in the background of these particular scenes. However, they could have portrayed them with more meaning and weight. Mercury didn’t wish to be remembered as the ‘poster boy’ for the AIDS crisis, but the sad fact is that a true queen, with impeccable talent was taken too soon.

If you are a Queen fan, this film is recommended, purely to see Freddie Mercury resurrected by an incredible actor. For anyone else, go to see this for the amazing soundtrack, especially in surround sound. The producers incorporated all of the right hits, something many biopics don’t do well. You will find yourself singing along involuntarily.

This movie was one that had the potential to be great, like its subject, but fell short and ended up being adequate. It seems that once again, this is a biopic that bit the dust.


Alison Clair

Image Credit: collider.com