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