If there was ever a man who embodied the spirit of what it meant to be a rock god then it was most definitely the lead singer of Queen Freddie Mercury, who is recognized and celebrated the world over as a music icon who revolutionized rock n’roll thanks to his magnificent four octave range, evocative stage presence, all around showmanship and fantastic musical talent.
But behind the legend lay the man and director Bryan Singer and star Rami Malek give audiences a phenomenal portrait of the life of Freddie Mercury and a band that would change the very essence of music in Bohemian Rhapsody and this is a cinematic experience that will rock you.
Following meteoric rise of superstar singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), Bohemian Rhapsody is a chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert in 1985.
While as audiences we are used to the idea of musical biopics which chart the rise of a band and the artists that bring the music to life, Bohemian Rhapsody is something else completely. This is a piece of cinema on a whole other level and trust me when I say you will feel its kinetic energy run through your entire being. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) is a filmmaker who understands how to use the scope of his cameras to great effect and with a canvas as monumental as Queen to draw upon they really set the screen alight with the flamboyant energy that we have come to expect from this legendary rock group. Bohemian Rhapsody is a film experience unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed before and it will certainly set your senses on fire.
In reviewing Bohemian Rhapsody I must clarify that this film is both Freddie Mercury’s story, along with Queen’s. You simply cannot separate one from the other and while Freddie’s life journey is the focus of the film’s energy, Bohemian Rhapsody really works hard to give an overview of this momentous band’s rise to success and the flamboyant rollercoaster ride that took them to the top.
For any type of biopic the details always matter and this couldn’t be truer for the supreme talent that was Freddie Mercury and Singer nails every moment here. But a director’s vision is only part of the equation and make no mistake there would be no Bohemian Rhapsody if the presence of rising thespian superstar Rami Makek wasn’t present. Malek is a performer who time and time again captures our attention with his momentous talent and extraordinary commitment to his craft and here he faces the ultimate challenge in bringing to life this ultimate rockstar.
But Malek is well up for the challenge and while watching the film you forget that you are watching and actor and feel like you have instead stepped into a time machine and are back in 1975 as he belts out hit after hit. As a performance Malek has captured every facet of Farrokh Bulsara, the man who would become Freddie Mercury and the extremes of his personality.
Mercury was a man who boasted one of the most flamboyant stage personas of all time who commanded your attention when he gripped the microphone and sang with his four octave range, but who in private was intensely shy and overcome with anxiety and deep rooted depression issues. To swing between each persona, along with expressing his knack for movement and channeling that incredible voice, Malek does everything in his ability to truly capture your attention as an audience member and Freddie’s presence as a bondafide rock star. He’s the true center of the film and any Queen fan will be cheering his performance on.
And if you’re a Queen fan who is looking to experience the ultimate Queen moment, well, you’ve come to the right place. Bohemian Rhapsody is nothing short of operatic and it captures all the pop, glitter and glam of the music of Queen with the volume fully cranked up. From their early days as a student band to their triumphant performance at Live Aid in 1985, Bohemian Rhapsody captures the full breadth of Queen’s triumphant work. While I’ll always list “We Will Rock You” as my favourite Queen track of all time, it’s certainly exciting to go behind-the-scenes and unlock the nuances and unexpected moments that give birth to these magnificent anthems.
One of the film’s coolest moments is undoubtedly its documentation of how four wannabe misfit rock n’roller’s recorded their first LP and really understood that they had to get experimental if they were to truly break through. Add in an ability to push the envelope and take risks and this of course would lead this talented quartet to do something truly different and would lead into their seminal 1975 album A Night at The Opera and it’s defining track “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Getting an inside look into how this magnificent track was born was an awesome thing to behold and the creative team really dig into the creative process that went into finding these tracks. All throughout this film you find yourself caught up in moments like these as Freddie and his band mates are always pushing themselves to break new ground in an effort to give their audience something that they themselves have never heard before.
But if Bohemian Rhapsody has a defining moment as a piece of cinema then it is undoubtedly in Queen’s triumphant performance at 1985’s seminal music event Live Aid. Taking audiences back to Wembley Stadium on Saturday 13 July 1985, the creative team recreate the size and spectacle of this mammoth event and capture every breathtaking moment of a performance that has gone down in musical history.
While I myself had only expected some kind of chopped up montage with this piece of the film, Bohemian Rhapsody instead presents the entire 20 minute set in all it’s glorious theatrics as Malek’s Mercury decides to give his all for his audience. It’s a sequence that will get your heart pounding as you feel the energy pulsate through you and once Mercury and his band mates take their final bow you feel as if you had truly been their in that monumental moment.
As a tribute to one of the world’s greatest ever entertainers and the incredible music that he created, Bohemian Rhapsody absolutely delivers on every level. This powerhouse piece of cinema speaks to your inner rock god and you’ll be grooving in your seat in no time. So throw on your flares, flex your vocal cords and get to this on ASAP.
Image: 20th Century Fox.