Led by a star-making performance by Rami Malek, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ overcomes its shaky second act and awkward writing with a killer soundtrack and an amazing conclusion.
The film follows Queen’s lead vocalist Freddie Mercury from early life to death in this celebration of his life and music.
After almost two decades of being in development hell, Bohemian Rhapsody finally releases, with the direction of Bryan Singer (replaced during production with Dexter Fletcher). While Singer never really challenges himself with the direction, it’s the performances and concert sequences (especially Live Aid) that truly make this film stand out.
Previously starring in Mr. Robot as a much different character, Malek gets the shine to truly shine as Freddie Mercury, with a performance that should earn him at least a nomination next year. It’s delightfully over-the-top, and even in some uneven scenes, he manages to carry them with his presence. The other actors are great too, particularly Lucy Boynton as Mary Austen.
While the film does fall into some tropes of biopics, it’s thanks to the music and Mercury’s interesting life that makes it feel unique. The film does a have a shaky start and a particularly slow and middling second act, especially because of some weird easy-to-fix pacing issues. While writer Anthony McCarten does the best he can with the story, some scenes feel particularly awkward and so silly that it would be hard to believe they were real. However, producer Graham King and Queen bandmates’ decision to make the film family-friendly instead of the original much more raunchy approach seems to pay-off, with the flaws fading away a bit when you realize the more “celebration” approach the film takes with the leading man.
The sequence at Live Aid, which caps off the film, is definitely the best of the film, and probably one of the best concert scenes in any film ever. Despite its length, it rarely drags, thanks to some amazing shots combined with the previously mentioned performances that make the scene especially poignant and powerful.
In conclusion, Bohemian Rhapsody is definitely not perfect, but it’s a fun crowd-pleaser that is sure to delight fans of Queen — and potentially create new ones.