Us Musts

Bo­hemian Rhap­sody


It’s not just fan­tasy. With gusto and soul, Mr. Robot star Rami Malek turns this for­mu­laic biopic about Queen front­man Fred­die Mer­cury (in­set) into a rous­ing and riv­et­ing char­ac­ter piece. His story zips straight to Lon­don 1970, when the air­port bag­gage han­dler in­tro­duces him­self to gui­tarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drum­mer Roger Tay­lor (Ben Hardy). They soon form Queen and em­bark on the same rise-and-fall-and-rise tra­jec­tory seen in ev­ery sin­gle VH1 Be­hind the Mu­sic episode. This is also not the des­ti­na­tion for in­tro­spec­tion re­gard­ing Mer­cury’s bi­sex­u­al­ity — he died of com­pli­ca­tions from AIDS in 1991 — or his artis­tic stylings. But Queen fans should look past th­ese flaws. That’s be­cause the film show­cases the mu­sic in all its splen­dor. The hits are all here, from “We Will Rock You” to “An­other One Bites the Dust” and the glo­ri­ous op­er­atic ti­tle track. The per­for­mances cul­mi­nate in Queen’s foot-stomp­ing, chills-in­duc­ing 1985 Live Aid set at Lon­don’s Wem­b­ley Sta­dium. Malek doesn’t just move across the stage like Mer­cury; he makes love to the mic stand and ador­ingly basks in the spot­light. Some­where, an out­ra­geous icon knows that his Queen movie rules.

“It’s not a doc­u­men­tary,” says Malek (right, with Lee). “We take lib­er­ties with the chronol­ogy.”

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