Bohemian Rhapsody won’t rock you

Brendan Sheardy, Staff Writer

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     Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical picture telling the story of Freddie Mercury and the band “Queen.” This film tells the story of how Queen came together, but it focuses more on Mercury’s life with the band. This film is directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher, and stars Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Aidan Gillen.

Rami Malek crushes it as Freddie Mercury in this film. While I wouldn’t consider Malek to be an unknown talent, he is known for his work in the acclaimed series “Mr. Robot,” but he hasn’t had a major movie role before this. That’s why his natural charisma really surprised me. He was able to bring a lot of fun to role, while also adding much needed depth and emotion. It’s tough for actors to bring a legend to life, as it often comes off as a cheap imitation, but I bought Malek as Mercury for the entire film, and he was definitely the film’s strongest aspect. An Oscar nomination should be approaching fast for Malek.

The film sports some great cinematography, too. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel gives an impressive use of color in the film, using mostly tungsten lights mixed with a small touch of neon, which contributed a lot to capturing the 1970s and 80s look and feel. I especially appreciated the way the concert scenes looked, as they were able to capture the look and feel of a concert beautifully.

While the film has excellent technical work, the script is much to be desired. Much of this film feels like a visual representation of Queen’s wikipedia page. The script feels like it took facts about Queen, such as how they came together and how they got record deals, and threw them into a sequence of scenes because it’s necessary to the story. However, during these scenes, we feel detached from the characters. We never really get to feel like we are there with these characters and how they are feeling in these situations, we are just simply told what happened- hence the “wikipedia page”.

The film also completely ignores the other members of the band, as it centers completely around Freddie Mercury. This leaves the other members of the band, John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor, to be severely underdeveloped. We learn nothing more than what their profession would have been if they weren’t a part of Queen… and that’s it. Their talents are never showcased and their contributions to the band are glossed over, making them feel like irrelevant characters, which was disappointing.  

The first hour of the film moves way too quickly, too. This section of the film feels like it was edited down severely from what was initially filmed, which makes everything feel rushed and glossed over. The director is to be blamed for this mishap, as there was a lot of on-set drama during the production of the film. Director Bryan Singer was fired midway through the production due to erratic behavior and constant fights with Rami Malek. Dexter Fletcher was hired in his place too finish off the film, making this film a mix of two director’s visions, and it shows. It feels like you are watching two different movies at once.

     The final 45 minutes nearly make up for the entire film, as this is the section where the film finally starts to dig deeper into Freddie as a person. The film shows how we, as a society, can idolize famous icons like Freddie Mercury and expect them to be perfect in every way, when in reality they can be just as broken as anyone. We are shown how Mercury struggles with feeling completely alone as his drug-fueled partying lifestyle begins to overtake him. We are finally given some depth to this story, which is refreshing since the rest of the film is paper-thin.

     The finale at the Live Aid concert was enthralling, and will make fans of Queen, both new and old, dancing in their seats to We Are The Champions, Radio Ga Ga, and, of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a perfect way to finish off the film.

     There was some controversy long before the film was released about how his film ignores Mercury’s sexuality and AIDS diagnosis, which is ridiculous since those two aspects of his life were very important parts of the film.

     This film may be loved by audiences and Queen fans. I am a Queen fan myself, but this film did not deliver enough for me to grant it a positive review. I found it to be mostly paper-thin and boring at times, even with Rami Malek’s incredible performance. I think I’ll stick to Queen’s music for now.

     Rating: 5/10

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Bohemian Rhapsody won’t rock you