Despite mixed reviews, Bohemian Rhapsody rocks

Anthony Kramer, Staff Writer

After first being announced in 2010, biopic Bohemian Rhapsody finally became a reality on November 2 after 8 harrowing years of production issues, and attracted an awe-inspiring $50 million in the first weekend domestically, along with $72.5 million more globally. Despite the surprisingly mixed reviews among critics (62% on Rotten Tomatoes), this did not stop moviegoers from watching and enjoying the film (92% on Rotten Tomatoes). The man credited with composing the film is Bryan Singer, although he was not able to oversee the end result in that position, as he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. While the cast didn’t contain many big names, it was indeed a fantastic selection, with Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, and Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin to name a few.

Arguably the greatest thing about this film is the selection of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Not only does the actor look similar to the music legend, he performed the role to perfection. Malek managed to reproduce the energy and flamboyant personality Mercury once had in this film, whether it was on stage or in between performances. He also stole every scene he was a part of, which only few top-caliber actors have the ability to achieve. Alongside his mesmerizing performance, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joseph Mazzello all did a fantastic job as the other members of the band.

Another great aspect about the film is the ability to see how Queen managed to develop the uniqueness of the songs they wrote and what they used to add depth to their songs, especially Bohemian Rhapsody itself. The scene where Roger Taylor had to sing the high note for ‘Galileo’ is comedic and effective in what it’s trying to do at the same time. As Freddie continually tells Taylor that he needs to sing with a higher pitch, we get several laughs from that as Taylor bickers and the dialogue continues in that fun manner for the remainder of the scene. This scene is also effective because it provides us with a close look at how the band constructed parts of their songs until it was deemed ‘perfect’, and also gives us a good idea of how set in his ideas Freddie Mercury is, as when he envisions something, he commits to it. This allows Mercury to progress in terms of story arc as we go along with the film as well.

I could only manage to find minor issues with the film, and at the same time there were so little of them. One of those problems is the pacing of the overall film. It was very sporadic; at one moment the pacing is very fast and at the next it comes crashing to an immediate halt. A prime example is the beginning of the film, which kicks off from zero to sixty so quickly that exposition feels so rushed and it leaves an unsatisfying first impression. After the main plot gets going, the film slows in the pace, and that’s where the massive discrepancy is. If I were to remove either the fast start or the slow development, this film would have a much different beginning.

Overall, pacing issues could not take away from the stellar quality of storytelling, acting, and production that this film contained and maintained consistently. If this review isn’t enough to get you into the theater, go for the music. The audience can’t help but clap their hands and stomp their feet to We Will Rock You, no matter the resistance to disrupting the theater, or for mentally singing the rest of the songs recognized. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking to be entertained and obviously looking for a good story of fame in music, drama, and coming out as homosexual during a time where it was not socially acceptable in the slightest. It’s a shame this film took so long to be put on the big screen, but the deliberate process of this film delivered the hype moviegoers were looking for. And while in the end Freddie died of AIDS in 1991, we felt redeemed due to the resolution of the film at the Live Aid performance in 1985. With the success of this biopic, expect to see many more films about artists of the 20th Century.