Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Under (studio) Pressure

Bohemian Rhapsody follows Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) from the beginning. He meets his life long friend Mary (Lucy Boynton) his eventual Queen band mates, Brian May, (Gwilym Lee) Roger Taylor, (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon. (Joseph Mazzello) Then we see the rise and fall of Mercury's tumultuous career.

This movie is the definition of uneven. It's a shame because Queen was a great band that deserved a great movie and what they got was a script that still managed to be messy even though they were playing it as "safe" as possible. Biopics tend to follow a tight formula and few ever take risks. This followed the exact same pattern Walk The Line did to a T, but never balanced out the way they did. What is it with biopics? Why are some so great (The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything) and others so...blah?

I think the makers of Bohemian Rhapsody were more concerned with making Freddie as "big" as possible than actually being factual. Poor Rami Malek is fighting those fake teeth at various points in this film. Mercury's overbite was not THAT bad. Just like he seemed to be a lot more guarded in interviews compared to how he is here. And never mind the fact that they add drama where there wasn't and move his AIDS diagnosis up a few years to make the Live Aid gig more sentimental despite the fact that they didn't need to do that at all. 

It's all the most frustrating because when the actors are playing music, they shine. All their recording sessions and performances on stage are magnificent. The recreation of the Live Aid concert is easily one of my favorite things I've seen this year, but when they're not performing the script doesn't give them anything else to do. The band mates all have great chemistry but we learn nothing about anyone but Mercury. 

The actors are tasked with making this soar, but shoddy editing, a basic script, and poor direction make this film sink.

Recommended: Yes for the music, no for the script

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "We're all legends." - Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek)


Comments

  1. You've managed to highlight all the issues that I just couldn't put my finger on!

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  2. this is really just a decent episode of Behind the Music, at best

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  3. Oh No! What a shame because I am looking forward to seeing this movie. Am I surprised that they changed things up to pull at the heart strings? Nope, not at all, this has been done since movie bios began. It is a shame

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, they do it a lot but for some reason it seems more obvious with this one.

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  4. I have thoughts about seeing it because I love Queen but things such as dramatic liberties and all of these things can take me out of a film. I get very picky when I would notice little things as it relates to subject matters and individuals that I'm familiar with. If I notice those things and go "wait a minute, that didn't happen".

    That kills the film for me and I can't enjoy myself. Queen deserves better. Plus, it's not just Freddie Mercury. It's also Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor and they all wrote songs that were big hits. That is Queen. Those four guys. Anything else is a totally different entity. Plus, I think the blame shouldn't just go to May and Taylor as producers but also Bryan Singer for being a bitch.

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    1. It's weird that May and Taylor were producers yet we barely know anything about their characters. You'd think they would've pushed more for that. It's frustrating all around. Singer is gross. They should've given the other director a credit.

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    2. Agreed. Dexter Fletcher I heard did a better job and actually tried to save the film but got no credit which is bullshit.

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  5. I've been curious about this movie. I appreciate what you say about learning nothing about the other band members. That's tough especially in a biopic about Queen and not only Mercury.

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    1. Oh for sure. I still think it's overall a good watch it just has a handful of issues. The Live Aid recreation alone is great.

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  6. I definitely liked this one more than you did, although we both touch on similar points. They def played this way too safe...and my review touches on major timeline inaccuracies that would probably lower your C+ rating...

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    1. I'm not well versed in Queen's timeline, the only think that stuck out at me as wrong was the AIDS diagnosis timing because I know that was *after* Live Aid

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  7. With May and Taylor consulting, you have to think how cheated they feel with the finished product.

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    1. No kidding. They either wanted themselves painted as saints with as little screen time as possible or they got screwed.

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  8. Well, we are there for the movie not for the music, since this film is supposed to be a viewing experience, not merely sound. Music aside, it looks like a flop. Very sad, and I agree - Queen deserves so much better than this.

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  9. Nice review! I'm such a huge fan of Freddie, and have been holding out for a biopic for years. But the more that has come out about this, I think I'll hold onto a documentary I saw several years that was amazing. It's a shame 'cause a good Queen biopic would've been epic.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Really, just watching the Live Aid set on youtube would suffice.

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