Break free from re­al­ity with Bo­hemian Rhap­sody

Mu­si­cal biopic shines with stel­lar lead per­for­mance by Malek as Fred­die Mer­cury

StarMetro Calgary - - DAILY LIFE - Peter How­ell MOVIE CRITIC

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

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