Thursday, November 8, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody - Review

Without a shred of doubt, the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen is a worthy story to be told on film. That being said, the days of the straightforward biopic have largely died out, and bringing that approach to such a fascinating individual and legendary group is a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless, the folks in charge have brought us Bohemian Rhapsody, a look at the life of one of music’s most charismatic performers, packaged in a boring two-hour film.

A foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. Tracing the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs, revolutionary sound and unparalleled success, until, in an unexpected turn, Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid.

Fortunately, for both the film and the audience, the people behind the project cast a tremendously talented individual in Rami Malek. And while the pieces around him don’t approach anything close to his effort here, his performance should not go unnoticed. He captures the enigmatic nature of the talented Queen front man with ease despite having to navigate numerous monikers related to Freddie, like his voice or distinct front teeth. Not doing his own singing is certainly a mark against the overall performance, but what Malek does in just about every other regard is pretty exceptional.

Unfortunately, it feels as though the catchy and familiar tunes of such a legendary musical group have clouded judgement on some of the film’s lesser qualities. It’s a phenomenon that occurred with last year’s The Greatest Showman as well, and the success of this film on top of it will likely only spur Hollywood into making the same or similar style film. By taking a complicated figure, narrowing their life down to bits and pieces without delving too far into it, and throwing some songs overtop of it all makes everything nice and neat for the general audience. And thus, allows for enjoyment of an extremely flawed film. 

Part of the issue revolves around the film’s desire to build toward Live Aid, a gigantic benefit concert in 1985 that featured anyone who was anyone. And this sequence is exhilarating, one of the few well-made portions of this dull film, but it’s hardly enough to make up for the shortcomings of the other hour and a half of runtime. Even so, a recreated version of Live Aid is hardly a draw when footage of the actual event exists.

Bohemian Rhapsody is both a waste of potential and completely pointless all at the same time. Rami Malek is able to showcase his talents and bringing the necessary charisma to role was immensely vital to the movie working on any level. And even with his performance, the film is riddled with problems. Problems that are being ignored due to the familiarity of the music, a tribute to the legacy of Queen that functions more as a collection of greatest hits than as anything remotely worth your attention.

No comments :

Post a Comment