By: Joe Kelly
The opening to the Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic had lots of flair, but lacked any drive. The film reveals everything from Freddie Mercury’s strained relationship with his father to the beginning of the band where he joins Brian May and Roger Taylor after they lose their lead singer following a lackluster bar show. From here, it’s a musical rags-to-riches story that seems too good to be true (and it is).
The rockstar status that Queen achieved was undoubtedly spectacular and fun to watch, but one couldn’t help questioning why Queen was so special. The film attempts to answer this through a record deal interview: they are outcasts performing for outcasts. Yet, “Bohemian Rhapsody” glosses over any explanation for Queen’s writing or inspiration, Mercury’s personality, or rise to fame. Instead, these are covered through montages of their touring experiences played like highlight reels fit for a documentary.
Whatever “Bohemian Rhapsody” lacks in depth of screenplay or character development (especially in the first half), Rami Malek makes up for in his transformation into Mercury’s character. However awkward his artificial teeth look at first, Malek’s portrayal is flashy and fun. It becomes even more important in the second act where there’s a deeper look into Mercury’s struggles with fame.
Ultimately, the buildup to Queen’s Live Aid Concert was satisfying, but not without flaws in pacing and depth. While “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” recreation of the band in all its glory was impressive, Queen’s story was left on the backburner.