By Al Muir
It’s very easy to get carried away with the performances, and of course the music with a biopic about Freddie Mercury and Queen.
As a Queen fan for over 30 years, I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced, but could they put the majesty of Queen into 2 hours and 14 minutes, without taking liberties?
The short answer is no.
This is Queen, PG-13 style. While it’s a great trip down memory lane, there’s not a lot of grit on show, and even though I’d obviously watch it again, as a music fan I’d love to have seen more of the backstage shenanigans, and the creation of all those incredible songs.
There are some real high points to talk about though, Rami Malek puts in a shift and a half getting Freddie right and makes it look easy. He’s by far the best thing about the film and is a pure joy to watch every second he’s on screen.
Ok, it was never going to be a ‘warts n’all’ rockumentary, but I felt like it was rushed. Especially the early story of Fred’s family and the meeting of Brian and Roger, and Fred’s joining of the band.
Watching the actors playing Queen gave me a lot of joy: All four of them brought a young Queen to life. The relationships and the dynamic between them all was comforting to watch, and the tale of how Bohemian Rhapsody was both made and marketed is probably my favourite part of the film. Especially the comedy gold of a Mike Myers cameo.
Freddie’s relationship with Mary (Lucy Boynton) tugs at the heartstrings and reminds you of how wonderful the 70’s were. People exploring who they were, without labels. Mary sees Freddie for what he is, falls in love and hangs on for dear life!
Bohemian Rhapsody takes a lot of liberties with truth. Especially when it comes to AIDS.
In the film, Freddie reveals he is dying just before Queen’s Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium, which was one of the greatest rock performances, in front of one of the biggest audiences at that time.
It makes for a massive ending to the film. For while he would live on for another six years, dying at the young age of 45, the concert is the high point of this story and they did a fantastic job of replicating Queen’s performance on the day. Everything is there, from John Deacon’s legendary dancing to Freddie larking about with a cameraman.
I must mention Malek’s performance again, and even though there was a lot of disappointment that we didn’t get to see what Sacha Baron Cohen could have done, I honestly feel Rami Malek was the best man for the job.
Treat yourself to the big screen, They are the champions and they WILL rock you!
Bohemian Rhapsody is in cinemas now.