I must confess, it took me a while to force myself into the theater and get to the center seat to begin watching Bryan Singer’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I was worried that the Freddie Mercury, or rather Queen, biopic will take on a whole different route to satisfy the viewers who would care less about the artist himself and more about his personal life. I was happy reading the negative reviews that worked quite well for me actually. The question is, why do we care about Freddie Mercury’s sexual preferences? We need a film that will be able to capture the real image of the legendary artist. This film was all about that. End of story.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” begins the journey with Freddie Mercury in 1970, when he meets a band which was abandoned by its lead singer. The name of the band was Smile. While Freddie was not much impressed with the name, soon he will become the new lead singer of the band, naming it in a majestic way – Queen. While the world is going crazy about the new and unique group that offers what the rest of the musicians and bands altogether cannot, Freddie Mercury goes through his own ups and downs with his family, with himself, who he is, and who he wants to be, alongside with the love of his life, Mary, who, no matter what, will always be there for him to provide the care and love no one could ever possibly do.
As it usually happens with biopics like this, Queen is full of drama, exciting moments, disappointments and superhits. Roger, Brian, John and Freddie are invited by Elton John’s manager, John Reid who wants to manage the new band. As they begin producing extremely appealing songs, the audience becomes more involved with it, engaging with the band as if they were a part of it. What this movie gets correct is capture the ability of the audience, like you and myself, to connect with the story, travel back in time, and join the journey that will be wild but damn unforgettable. While the entire movie is pure perfection, the last twenty minutes of it will be the most surreal, unreal and something you would never like to end. How could it? How?
Bryan Singer, with his version of Queen, is precise in explaining himself. He wanted zero gossip stories shared in his movie, capturing no deaths or the number of times Freddy Mercury fell in love after breaking up with Mary, his wife. All these would have ruined the movie, especially if it would’ve left us watching his endless romances with men or women. We need art, music and leisure to think about what we have lost and what we may regain. Singer’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not meant to entertain a random audience, regular movie goers. He needed people that would understand Freddie Mercury’s wrongly made choices, sympathize with him when the artist himself could not, and bear with him when he could not do the same. You can trust me that throughout the movie you will feel like Queen’s best friend, as his most respectful and loyal listener, did that without ever asking a single question.
As for the performance, I must say, it was absolutely astounding. Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Aidan Gillen as John Reid, Allen Leech as Paul Prenter, Tom Holland as Jim Beach, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon, and Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin, Mercury’s love of his life, were incredible and worth cheering for. Rami Malek, the actor, is a master and genius who puts an unbeatable stamp on his performance. So next time, or in the next generation, any actor will think twice before trying to do what Malik did. It is impossible. His portrayal of Mercury is deep, profound and moving. He gives another life to the artist that never really died. All what he did is cleverly and masterfully step into the shoes of an icon to deliver the most honest and straightforward performance that was full of complexity. But an actor of Malik’s caliber would not worry about it because he got it and had no intention to fail. And he doesn’t.
In the end, “Bohemian Rhapsody” offers a chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’ most legendary appearance at the 1985s Live Aid Concert and why it was simply out of world. The movie itself has the right formula to boil up any careless blood, unfreeze a frozen heart, keep warm during the harsh winter, make you cry like a baby when you will have no tears left and feel alive when death, just around the corner, says hi and you easily reply back, nope, not today. “Bohemian Rhapsody” might not have been able to tell the whole Freddie Mercury or Queen story nor was able to set the facts straight. But what this movie did though, and that’s the most important thing, is that it brought back Queen. It reminded us why the twenty-first century will never be like the twentieth. Why should we correct our musical tastes and why now, like never before, is it important to go back to the old. Because what is old is always fresher and younger than youth itself. And Queen is a great start to begin realizing that.