Infamously plagued with problems throughout its production, including replacing not only its lead actor but also its director, Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody offers up very little substance but still manages to be incredibly good fun.
Set around the years leading up to Queen’s performance at Live Aid, the film rattles unbelievably quickly from the band’s founding moments to superstardom, giving only the briefest glimpses into young Mercury’s life. Mercury’s sexuality obviously formed a huge part of both him and his public persona, but this is so rose-tinted and PG-rated it’s as though the filmmakers were afraid of offending any of the band’s more conservative fans.
When it comes to Mercury’s pivotal and devastating diagnosis of being HIV positive, there’s no time spent really focusing on this and the impact it had on him and his loved ones. Everything is far more focused on the band’s Live Aid performance instead, which is a shame because as beautiful and spine-tingling as the performance is, it doesn’t offer any insight into the man himself.
However, Bohemian Rhapsody is such good fun that if you go in not expecting an in-depth look into the real life of the iconic singer, you’ll be taken on a whirlwind, colourful ride with a spot-on soundtrack that will please even the most die-hard of Queen fans. When it comes to showmanship, this film turns everything up to 11.
Rami Malek as Mercury is by far and away the shining light of this film, making it very difficult to imagine what original lead actor Sacha Baron Cohen would’ve brought to the role. Malek is Mercury; the swagger, the facial expressions and the voice are all just perfect.
Joyful and occasionally moving, Bohemian Rhapsody is as lightweight as they come, but Mercury was all about the entertainment and this film delivers exactly that.
CAST: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers
DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer
WRITERS: Anthony McCarten (screenplay and story), Peter Morgan (story)
SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the 1985 Live Aid concert.