A review of Boehmian Rhapsody, by JSS contestant, Marcus Bagley-Hodkin
They promised to rock us, and they did. Bohemian Rhapsody tells the breath-taking story of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, right from his job unloading luggage from aeroplanes to blowing everyone away with a standout performance at LIVE AID.
Luckily, being a musician meant that I have grown up hearing Queen’s music, and so from my perspective the film taught me more about the life of the man behind so many roaring rock hits from Another One Bites the Dust to We Will Rock You. For teenagers who only know Queen as ‘that old rock band’, this film will surely blow their minds and cause an explosion of Queen music being played.
One key element of the film was the ‘confusion’ over Mercury’s sexuality. Coming out in 2018 (pun intended), I feel this sends a very prominent message that sexuality for many people is not as fixed as some may believe. For Freddie, his first serious relationship was with Mary Austin, a girl he intended to marry (hence the song, Love of My Life that will be sure to leave a tear to the eye from its use in the film), who ended up staying a lifelong friend. Interestingly, Mary was given Freddie’s London mansion as a result of his will, on the basis that she would have been his wife anyway had they got married.
A critique that I have read about this film a few times is that it is too long. Personally, being completely immersed in the story of one of the greatest music legends in history meant that I would have happily sat for longer, but I can understand that not being enthralled for 2 hours and 15 minutes could be unpleasant. The only complaint I have personally is that I would’ve liked to see what happened after the concert at LIVE AID (the film’s conclusion), as Freddie’s story resonated with me so deeply. However, I can see why the filmmakers decided against this, given its already lengthy runtime.
The cast in Bohemian Rhapsody was simply astounding, Ben Hardy’s Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee’s Brian May and Joseph Mazzello’s John Deacon all did a fine job at replicating the lovable but complex dynamic of Queen. The standout performance however has got to be Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. Not only does he look the part, having a striking resemblance to the legend, but he also manages to convey the cool, linguistic, intellectual, intriguing, isolated character Freddie Mercury was behind closed doors.
In summary, Bohemian Rhapsody rocks you to the core, enthralling the audience in a blaze of coloured clothes and rock chords. I’ll be thoroughly surprised if anyone walks away from the cinema without singing or humming We Are the Champions for about three weeks afterwards… I certainly was!