Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

Image Source: Variety

Written By: Clare Hearty

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Production Companies: 20th Century Fox, Initial Entertainment Group, Regency Enterprises and TriBeCa Productions
Director: Bryan Singer
Producers: Bryan Singer, Graham King, Jim Beach and Robert De Niro
Scriptwriter: Anthony McCarten
Main Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton and Joseph Mazzello
Release Date: October 24 2018
Running Time: 134 minutes
Certificate: 12A

Bohemian Rhapsody looks back at the story of the band Queen and its iconic frontman Freddie Mercury. It charts the star’s highs and lows but never dulls his sparkle.
The first scene, set in 1985, sees Freddie leave his mansion to perform at the famous 1985 Live Aid gig, before quickly changing tack to go back to 1970, focusing on the man behind the mask and his meteoric rise to fame.

The first half of the film is something of a ‘Greatest Hits’ for the band, shown in brief triumphant moments. From their formation to their first record deal, their first album, the various tours and the creation of the epic Bohemian Rhapsody song itself, we move from one high to another. A note of tension creeps in as Mercury’s star rises, and the film retraces the highs and the lows of his personal journey as he adjusts to his fame and seeks his own artistic identity, ending in the band’s triumphant return to the stage at Live Aid.

Bohemian Rhapsody was eight years in the making and involved some of Mercury’s old bandmates. While it takes an unmistakably rose-tinted look at the history of the band as well as its frontman, the film doesn’t completely shy away from Mercury’s struggles such as the racism he faced in the UK, his battle with AIDS and his sometimes-difficult personal relationships.

However, ultimately, it is clearly the story of Mercury’s role within the band, or his ‘family’, and in musical terms, Bohemian Rhapsody is a joy to watch. This is thanks in part to the standout performance of Rami Malek as Mercury. Arrogant and self-doubting in turn, his portrayal of Mercury is deeply human, and at times his mannerisms are so on-point that you could almost think you’re watching the man himself. The vocals are impressive, there is attention to detail in the costumes, and the sets are excellent; even the tonal colours of the film evoke 70s and 80s nostalgia.

Bohemian Rhapsody may be nostalgic, but it is well worth a watch.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good