Sunday, November 18The Voice of London

Bohemian Rhapsody review

Queen’s biopic fails to portray Freddie Mercury’s personal life despite Rami Malek’s magnetic performance.

July 13, 1985. That was the date the whole world set its gaze on one sole place: Wembley Stadium, London. The 16-hour worldwide concert organised to raise money for the Ethiopian  famine gathered artists like Elton John, David Bowie, U2 and Paul McCartney. However, it was Queen that gave one of the greatest live performances ever staged- this historic event stands out as one of the most memorable moments of Bryan Singer’s film.

The film introduces us to a young, flamboyant Mercury (played by an irresistible Rami Malek) who works as a baggage handler at Heathrow airport and aspires to become a successful singer. He auditions to the drummer/dental student Roger Taylor and the guitarist/astrophysicist graduate Brian May (Gwilym Lee) in a parking lot and shortly becomes the lead singer of the band. 

The problem with the film, except the distracting fake teeth, is that while Malek manages to capture Mercury’s sexual confidence on stage, the screenplay fails to movingly portray Queen’s striking story. It deals obscurely with Mercury’s HIV diagnosis and barely touches on his friendship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton). This frequent lack of detail simplifies the band’s journey to glory, becoming even tedious until the concert scene at the very end. What can I say, it’s just disappointing.

However, it is impossible not to talk about Malek’s enduring performance. The gestures, the lip sync, the terrific sexual aura; pure greatness. He manages to be tender but imperious, vain but affecting. The last scene of the film is the one you wait for the whole time, you know its going to be good but unexpectedly, it is overwhelmingly good. He was outstanding.

Words: Raquel Pacheco Colas

Subbing: Meghna Agarwal

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