25 September 2023

Bohemian Rhapsody

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Bryan Singer, 20th Century Fox, M 134 Mins.

Recognised for his splendid direction of many of the films in the ‘X-Men’ franchise, Bryan Singer delivers what can be best described as a brilliant biopic on legendary rock star Freddie Mercury and his relationship with rock band Queen.

The movie is based on the true story of Queen’s journey, from the group’s beginning in the 1970’s and its collaboration with then unknown singer Farrokh/Freddie, to their memorable performance at Wembley Stadium’s Live Aid Concert in 1985.

After deciding on a singer career and changing his name, Freddie convinces the three local band members -Brian May (Gwilym Lee –‘Midsomer Murders’), drummer Roger Taylor (‘Mary Shelley’), and bass guitarist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello –‘Social Network’) – to hire him as replacement singer.

Now known as Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek – TV’s ‘Mr. Robot’) with his oversized teeth and newly-acquired girlfriend Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton –‘Sing Street’), he changes the band name to Queen in addition to introducing a rock format to their performing style.

This proves to be a popular move, especially with fans on account of Freddie’s outrageous outfits and his energetic performance on stage which sees his popularity soar despite then having differing feelings about his own sexuality.

Following his break-up with Mary it doesn’t take long for Freddie to come under the influence of the devious Paul Prenter (‘Abbey Road’s Allen Leech), installing himself as Freddie’s personal manager and taking him down a destructive path.

It is only after participating in some of Prenter’s planned parties involving drink, drugs and gay men that Freddie is persuaded by Mary to sack Prenter and rejoin his former band Queen.

Despite learning that he has AIDS, this does not stop Freddie and Queen agreeing to perform for the last time at the Live Aid concert in 1985 at Wembley Stadium providing the most extraordinary performance of his entire life.

Without any doubt ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is an entertaining, mind-blowing celebration of Queen, their revolutionary music and songs, in particular their charismatic lead singer Freddie Mercury who defied convention to become one of the greatest performers of the 20th century.

Apart from some scenes, the major enjoyment is derived from the iconic songs and Malek’s phenomenal performance (including resemblance to Mercury), especially his insightful portrayal of the conflicting yet legendary rock star making him a certainty for an Academy Award.

Vic’s Verdict: 4 Stars

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