While the film would gain notoriety for the firing of its director, that doesn’t stop the fact that this is a great biopic about one of the greatest rock bands of all-times, thanks in part to the performances of its cast.
In 1970 England, Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara goes out one night and sees the band Smile at a local pub. There, he is impressed with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor. Upon learning the band’s lead singer has quit, Freddie offers to join the band as the lead singer. Impressed with his vocal range, Roger and Brian hire Freddie as their new singer along with bassist John Deacon. When they get a deal with EMI Records, they change their name to Queen and Freddie Bulsara legally changes his name to Freddie Mercury.
When the band starts making it big, they begin touring. Just when Freddie seems to have it all, especially being engaged to girlfriend Mary Austin, Freddie finally reveals his true nature while on the road. While his revelation ends his engagement, Mary and Freddie remain loyal friends. However, as Queen gets bigger, so does Freddie’s ego, which causes conflict within the band. The band knows Freddie has a particular member of their entourage who is clearly a bad influence. However, that doesn’t compare to what happens when the band prepares for Live Aid in 1985 and Freddie discovers something that will change his life forever.
Where to begin with his film? After years of development, In which there have been many directors, writers, and actors to be named, we are finally given the long-awaited biopic about legendary British rock band Queen and their charismatic lead singer Freddie Mercury. While the film would have another form of controversy with the firing of its director Bryan Singer with nearly two weeks left to shoot, Dexter Fletcher did a great job finishing the film but the driving force of the film is definitely Rami Malek as Mercury.
What is great about this film is that the film is not just about Mercury himself, but fellow Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon get plenty of screen time. While Malek scores big as Freddie, it has to be said that Gwilym Lee has an uncanny resemblance to Brian May while Ben Hardy is great as Taylor with former child actor Joe Mazzello rocks it as John Deacon, who when he needs to has to be the glue within the band when tensions rise. This is notable in the scene where Deacon unleashes the opening bass riff to “Another One Bites the Dust”.
Lucy Boynton churns out a wonderful performance as Mary Austin, the young woman who would become Freddie’s girlfriend then his most loyal friend throughout the film. While the second half has sporadic moments from Mary, you can see that she still makes an impact for Freddie. Aidan Gillen, usually known for his villain roles, does a pretty good turnaround as manager John Reid while it is Allan Leech’s Paul Prenter should get the award for Worst Influence in a Famous Person’s Life. Aaron McCusker makes the most of his limited screen time as Jim Hutton, who would be Freddie’s longtime partner before Mercury’s death in 1991.
The film of course, has the support of Brian May and Roger Taylor with Malek emulating Mercury’s energy on stage to a tee. This of course is very noticeable throughout the film, but it all becomes nearly as epic as the real life event when Queen plays Live Aid in 1985 with Mercury at his best, unleashing both songs and his famous operatic “Eh Oh” chant, which nearly brought Wembley Stadium to a level of epic awesomeness as it did with the real life event.
Bohemian Rhapsody is an excellent biopic about the legendary Queen and while some facts are done for dramatic effect, that doesn’t change the fact that Rami Malek shines as Freddie Mercury along with the rest of the cast churning out perhaps some of their best performances to date.
WFG RATING: A
20th Century Fox presents a New Regency Pictures/GK Films/Tribeca Productions film in association with Queen Films Ltd. and Regency Enterprises. Director: Bryan Singer. Producers: Jim Beach and Graham King. Writer: Andrew McCarten; story by McCarten and Peter Morgan. Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel. Editing: John Ottman.
Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allan Leech, Tom Hollander, Aaron McCusker, Mike Myers, Ace Bhatti, Meneka Das, Priya Blackburn, Dermot Murphy.