I remember growing up being aware of a group called Queen and while I knew who they were it was mostly in passing. That changed in 1980 when a little movie called Flash Gordon came out and I was transfixed by the soundtrack. Because of that movie I really discovered Queen and thanks to other films like Revenge of the Nerds and Wayne’s World so did a lot of other people. Queen was not like anything else I had heard and their lead singer Freddie Mercury sounded like nothing of this world and I knew that this band had to have a story that needed to be told, and here we are with Bohemian Rhapsody.
Farrokh Bulsara aka: Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) wasn’t always a superstar, well at least to everyone else. At one time he was a baggage handler at an airport, that was until a group he liked lost their lead singer and he thought he was just the right man to take his place. It seems betting on himself was just what Freddie needed as he took a group with a few fans, decided to rename themselves and turned into a super band known as Queen. When you are on top though there is always someone who wants to get in the way of your success. That someone can even be yourself sometimes, and in Freddie’s case it was a little of both as he get in the fast lane of life and lived like there was no tomorrow. That lifestyle caught up to him eventually, but not before he realized the path he had taken and righted his ship before it was too late, allowing himself to live a little longer before his light went out for good.
Telling someone’s story always seems like a tricky course, as you try and navigate through what you want and can tell and what you can’t. With Bohemian Rhapsody the story by Anthony McCarten feels more like the one they want you to hear, with truths, but at the same time a rose-colored version of it. The less controversial method lacks the punch this film needed and never seems to find its footing. What saves it from being bad is the music which is still legendary but more so the performance by Malek who absolutely nails his performance as Freddie Mercury. Every time he is on screen you are wanting more as he commands your attention and has you feeling you are seeing Mercury and not an actor playing him. The production did have some problems with the film losing director Bryan Singer during it and you feel that in there seems to not be a singular vision on what this film would be.
Even with the bumps, of which there are many, the music takes you to a good place and you can feel the energy flowing though the screen as you watch this. Queen deserved something better than this, but most of all Malek with his performance deserves better. I hope one day the rest of the story is told, until then while this will not make you feel like a champion, I promise you it will rock you.