Break free from reality with Bohemian Rhapsody
Musical biopic shines with stellar lead performance by Malek as Freddie Mercury
A little high, a little low, Bohemian Rhapsody may have hardcore fans of Queen and Freddie Mercury chanting, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”
But let’s not get too rock ’n’ roll righteous about these blokes.
Here is a band and man who wanted to be taken seriously and even a tad pompously — but definitely not gravely, as Bryan Singer’s biopic makes entertainingly clear.
These are lads who dressed in drag for the video of “I Want to Break Free,” just for a laugh. Their concert showstopper was a feat of athletic yodelling by Mercury, the greatest pop singer ever. (Yes, I said it.)
And that epic 1975 title tune, the creation of which enlivens the film? It contains absurd shout-outs to Galileo, Beelzebub and some clown named Scaramouche who does the fandango. A befuddled band member asks “Who’s Galileo?” even as they record it.
When all was said and done, Queen just wanted to have fun. Which is why I’m inclined to cut much slack for Singer’s approach, which follows a Rock 101 storytelling template: Levis to leather pants, superstardom to squabbles, leave-taking to Live Aid.
Much of the emphasis is on late frontman Mercury, played by a resplendent Rami Malek, fake buck teeth and all, to the mild detriment of his fellow band members: guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello).
Yet there’s one divine scene that shows how these “four misfits who don’t belong together,” to quote the screen Mercury, managed to rise above petty differences. Continue reading Howell’s review at thestar.com/movies