Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers, Ben Hardy
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…it is not necessary to like Queen’s music in order to find this film watchable and mildly enjoyable.
By far the best thing about Bohemian Rhapsody is Rami Malek’s excellent performance as Freddie Mercury. He’s never less than convincing, whether playing him as a young Heathrow baggage handler and aspiring singer (circa 1970) or as a flamboyant and hugely successful – but doomed – rock star.
Everything else about this fairly linear biopic occupies a limited spectrum between perfectly-OK-but-unremarkable and a bit flat and slow-moving, and is a far cry from Bryan Singer’s most exciting directorial efforts. It also plays rather fast and free with the facts at times, particularly in its depiction of Mercury’s bandmates in Queen, who were by most accounts a great deal more hedonistic and wild than they’re depicted here. To believe Bohemian Rhapsody, you’d think they were all stolid wowsers in extreme contrast to Freddy’s high-camp libertinism.
Still, it’s entertaining enough, and there is one memorable scene involving a press conference in which Mercury is pushed obnoxiously to speak up about his sexuality.
The various recreations of Queen’s ‘more is more’ live theatrics are well staged too – no pun intended – and the period detail is quite good. But some of the dialogue is so corny and trite as to sound unreal, and it’s hard to believe that even someone of Freddie Mercury’s ambitiousness would have claimed his music could combine “the scale of opera, the pathos of Greek tragedy and the wit of Shakespeare”. Or at least that nobody would have laughed when he did.
You may be reliably assured that it is not necessary to like Queen’s music in order to find this film watchable and mildly enjoyable.