Monday, 29 October 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Tom Hollander, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Lucy Boynton
Director: Bryan Singer / Dexter Fletcher

To be honest, Bohemian Rhapsody does not, and will not, care for what critics think.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

This broad, crowd-pleasing attempt to turn Queen's life story - and ultimately, that of Freddie Mercury - into a cinematic experience, is more akin to putting an inordinate amount of money into a jukebox and blasting out Queen's Greatest Hits on repeat, with Brian May's guitar riffs ultimately numbing you into submission..

That is to say, the Antony McCarten-penned biopic is electric and offers a kind of magic only when its lead Rami Malek prances around on stage, overbite and all, effecting the mannerisms of Mercury himself and the flamboyancy of performance. It's here that Malek just about manages to transcend his "Stars In Their Eyes" moment to remind you of why these songs endure.

Unfortunately, it's all the rest of what sits in between the culmination of the Live Aid performance and Queen experimenting with their sound that feels like a bum B-side, depressingly put out solely because the label demands it.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

Racing formulaically between narrative beats, and hitting every familiar moment of a rags-to-riches story - including family tensions and subsequent resolutions, Bohemian Rhapsody suffers from plodding plotting, a defiant coyness over the star's bisexuality and rampant hedonistic lifestyle and also offers an insulting nod'n'wink at hidden gay sexuality throughout. (It's no wonder Frankie Howerd's Up Pompeii is playing on a TV early on).

In many ways, it feels like a three act West End musical in its execution (though some drone shots at the Live Aid performance at the end are thrilling, a sense of spectacle and scale evident in every swoop from the skies through the crowd and to Freddie himself on stage) and is pigheadedly determined to ensure that it provides more dancing to the crowd as it dances around its subject, and subsequently provides rarely any insight into Mercury other than what the downpat story beats demand of it.
Bohemian Rhapsody: Film Review

While Malek is transcendant at times, and occasionally sells the internal conflict of Mercury well, he's let down massively by a script that's as formulaic as it is predictable.

Ultimately, Bohemian Rhapsody is more interested in serving a crowd a slice of rock'n'roll pie than providing a full meal - heaven alone knows what Freddie would have made of it.

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