RE­VIEWS Mer­cury is ris­ing

With

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

( X-Men)

Rami Malek, Lucy Boyn­ton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Mike My­ers

IBryan Singer T is easy come, easy go. A lit­tle high, a lit­tle low.

As for any way the wind blows, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter.

We’re talk­ing here, of course, about Bo­hemian Rhap­sody, both a bitsy big-screen group hug and a grandiose great­est-hits play-through for leg­endary Bri­tish rock band Queen.

As a whole, the movie is loud, flashy and keen to daz­zle, but not so adept at de­posit­ing much in your mem­ory banks for the long haul.

How­ever, when ex­pe­ri­enced in the mo­ment, you will be wav­ing your hands in the air like you just don’t care in trib­ute to an elec­tri­fy­ing por­trayal of Queen front­man Fred­die Mer­cury by lit­tle-known Egyp­tian-Amer­i­can ac­tor Rami Malek ( from TV’s Mr Robot).

Be as­sured that he will, he will rock you.

Cour­tesy of some very sketchy script­ing and a nig­gling need to fast-for­ward the au­di­ence to the next big Queen an­them on the movie’s im­pres­sive playlist, Mer­cury slinks off stage with both his other-worldly mys­tique and his colour­ful col­lec­tion of con­tra­dic­tions in­tact.

Ba­sic fac­toids such as Mer­cury’s ex­otic eth­nic pedi­gree (he orig­i­nally hailed from Zanz­ibar), for­mer job as an air­line bag­gage han­dler, pe­cu­liar taste in fash­ion and un­con­ven­tional com­po­si­tion tech­niques are all cov­ered off like an­swers to a drab “did-you-know?” quiz.

All you’ll re­ally learn about Fred­die here is that he was an over-the-top pres­ence when in front of a live crowd or a stu­dio mi­cro­phone.

Oc­ca­sion­ally big hints are dropped that he had an un­der­the-radar sex­ual pref­er­ence for men, which broke the heart of the woman who was the true love of his life.

How­ever, in scenes where Fred­die is push­ing Queen to ex­ca­vate mon­ster ear­worms such as An­other One Bites the Dust, We are the Cham­pi­ons and, yes, the rock-opera mas­ter­piece Bo­hemian Rhap­sody, Malek’s bravura per­for­mance shifts the whole movie from first gear up to fifth in sec­onds flat.

While it is Mer­cury’s ac­tual voice that you do hear on the Bo­hemian Rhap­sody sound­track, the ac­cu­racy of Malek’s phys­i­cal em­bod­i­ment of the singer — right down to the small­est, twitchi­est de­tail — is be­yond un­canny.

This is never more ev­i­dent than at the movie’s tri­umphant cli­max, where Queen claw them­selves back from the scrapheap with a blind­ing 20minute set at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium for the glob­ally tele­vised Live Aid event in 1985.

A song-for-song, riff-for-riff re-en­act­ment of a short stage show is a weird way to end a movie, but Bo­hemian Rhap­sody gets away with it purely be­cause of the go-for-broke gusto with which Malek as Mer­cury em­braces the idea.

ROCK ON: Brian May (played by Gwilym Lee, left) and Fred­die Mer­cury (Rami Malek) hit the stage in Bo­hemian Rhap­sody.

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