BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY -review by Malcolm Waite
Bohemian Rhapsody is the “true” story of Freddie Mercury. This story chronicles the events of Queen’s formation until their iconic live aid performance. This film opens with Freddie watching a band with two members who would help create Queen perform. Let me get in with my main flaws with the film
This is an alright musical biopic. However, by far the worst parts were the historical inaccuracies. You may hear many different things about these. The most atrocious is what they do to the Live Aid performance. They have Freddie Mercury get diagnosed with AIDS right before the concert. You may be wondering why this is so atrocious. This flaw sums up why they are all there perfectly, and that is to make this movie extremely mainstream. If this didn’t happen, it would have to be longer, and if this is a three hour biopic, that means less money. This film just feels like it was Freddie Mercury’s life story just formatted to hit every single note you would expect from the standard screenplay format. This would be fine if someone’s life story hit all of those notes, but Freddie Mercury had a very eccentric life. They cut out so much just to be able to make this appeal to the widest range of people possible. I don’t want to go to a movie to see everything I’d expect from a standard life story. Why would I want to do this? If I was a screenwriter, all I’d need to do to write this script would be to have the ability to use Wikipedia and know the standard story structure. If they actually included the details that they left out, then this movie would almost certainly be R rated, but no, this movie has to make as much money as possible, so it is PG 13.
Past all of the historical inaccuracies, what actually propels this film above pure mediocrity is Rami Malek’s performance as Freddie. It is phenomenal. If this movie was accurate and they had Rami Malek, his performance would be even more phenomenal. The reason Rami Malek’s performance is such a feat is because none of his dialogue stands out. However, he somehow encapsulates everything Freddie Mercury was with mediocre dialogue and a lot of historical inaccuracies. You forget at points in the film that this is an actor and not a Freddie himself.
However, this positive aspect cannot be attributed to the other performances. Everyone else in this movie are basically playing caricatures of real people. These performances are so forgettable, the only moments from them that I remember were ones with with Freddie Mercury, and that is because of Rami Malek. All these other characters don’t really have arcs, and the little pieces of arcs they have are just to contribute to Freddie’s. This really annoyed me because if done right this movie could have outstanding supporting characters, some possibly even better than Freddie. These characters were just used to propel parts in Freddie’s story, which is just basically the standard hero’s journey you learned about in English class.
I will say one last thing before I give my grade, and that is just to address the fact of the awards this movie is up for. This movie does not deserve to be up for Best Picture. There were many other movies more deserving of this award such as The Death of Stalin or If Beale Street Could Talk. For Editing, there was nothing that really stood out to me about it. If Beale Street Could Talk deserves to be in this category far more than Bohemian Rhapsody. For lead actor, yes, this movie 100% deserves the nom and if it won I would be happy although I would prefer Bradley Cooper. And yes, this movie does deserve its two sound nominations. Before I state my grade I would like to say I really enjoyed this film, yet my review isn’t about enjoyment it is about the story, performances, and the many other aspects of the filmmaking aspect. The last thing I would like to say is if a movie is mediocre, in a way, it is worse than a terrible movie because you have nothing to remember. However, Rami Malek’s performance pushes this film slightly above mediocrity, just because of how memorable it is.
A historically inaccurate film with a bland script yet with quite possibly the years best male performance, I’m going to give Bohemian Rhapsody a B-