Skin deep: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' skims the surface of Freddie Mercury's career


    L-R: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Joe Mazzello (John Deacon) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    “Bohemian Rhapsody”
    3 out of 5 Stars
    Director:
    Bryan Singer
    Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello
    Writers: Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan
    Genre: Drama, Biography
    Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language

    L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Joe Mazzello (John Deacon), and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: A biopic centered on Freddie Mercury, lead singer of British rock band Queen, from the band’s inception on through to their iconic Live Aid performance in 1985.

    L-R: Joe Mazzello (John Deacon), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Gwilym Lee (Brian May) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    Review: Your enjoyment of “Bohemian Rhapsody” will greatly depend on why you are attending the film in the first place. If you’re looking for a solid performance by Rami Malek as Mercury and a brief run through the band’s greatest hits and a few of Freddie’s lows, then you’ll probably be satisfied. Just be warned that it has all the gloss and depth of a music video. A fact that will ultimately disappoint those who hoped for something more revealing.

    Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    I don’t know the band’s history well enough to dissect truth from fiction, but even the messy bits felt too pleasant. Maybe that has something to do with the mandate that the film be rated PG-13, which by its very nature limits the exploration of Mercury’s darkest days. It needn’t be as explicit as Bertrand Bonello's 2014 biopic "Saint Laurent," but some lives need the volume turned up all the way.

    Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Gwilym Lee (Brian May) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    I still bawled through the film’s final act and marveled at the idea of Mercury, a gay man whose personal life had been dragged through the muck of the British tabloids and talk shows, standing in front of a worldwide audience in 1985 and giving one of the most iconic performances in music history. It’s not that I didn’t know about Live Aid, I just hadn’t really taken a step back to look at that aspect of the concert.

    Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury) and Gwilym Lee (Brian May) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    I’m not entirely comfortable with the decision to recreate the entire Live Aid performance itself, but there’s no question that it a triumphant closing. I also don’t know how you could integrate the original performance using the fuzzy footage (by today’s standard) that we have from the event.

    L-R: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Joe Mazzello (John Deacon) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox)

    The film's greatest sin is that it lacks personality, which is rather ironic considering its subjects is one of the more colorful artists to exist from an already flamboyant period of history. It gives us what we already knew without really expanding on the man's legacy.

    L-R: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Joe Mazzello (John Deacon) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. (Photo: Alex Bailey, Twentieth Century Fox)

    "Bohemian Rhapsody" may be the film that the remaining members of Queen wanted, but it isn't the film Mercury deserves.


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