Bohemian Rhapsody: Freddy Mercury biopic, textbookish tale

Director: Bryan Singer; Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Tom Hollander and Mike Myers

By Author  |  Published: 17th Nov 2018  11:10 pm
Bohemian Rhapsody
Rami Malek as Freddy is everything you expect him to be, toothy mouth, wild hair, unisex clothes and girlie gait.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a deeply flawed biopic on a deeply-flawed, though by gifted musician-singer-composer, who changed the way we look at rock.

This biopic, troubled by production glitches right through, succeeds in making Freddy look sassy and campy without flipping his music into the conundrum of eccentricity. Come to think of it, there is nothing really wrong with this bird’s eye view of life that defied deviant deification. It ticks all the boxes in the biopic genre, offends no one seriously and defends none either.

The non-judgmental not-taking-sides attitude is also an impediment to an unfettered easy-breathing ride. The narrative is too anxious to get it all right and to get it all into that two hour-space. Every landmark “Queen” song gets airplay and an elaborate pre-explanation in the scheme of things. Every character who ever touched Freddy’s life is brought in for considering, no matter how fleeting.

This brings me to this politically correct biopic’s central issue. Rami Malek as Freddy is everything you expect him to be, toothy mouth, wild hair, unisex clothes and girlie gait… It’s all there. But then again, this is not Freddy Mercury. This is Freddy according to Malek. I recently saw this interesting Egyptian actor in the remake of ‘Papillon’ and I found him employing the same camera tricks here as he did in ‘Papillon’. Which is not really a wrong thing to do. Every actor can only take a character as far as the performing skills allow. This one just doesn’t go far enough.

For a film attempting to encapsulate a life that was lived by none of the rules, this biopic embraces a surprisingly proper tone of storytelling. Not ready to offend anyone, thereby reducing Freddy Mercury’s iconoclasm to a textbookish tell-all tale that tells all what it wants to and nothing more.

Neither bohemian enough to give Freddy’s life story a dizzying spin nor quite a rigorous rhapsody, at the end of it all, it is not quite ‘We Will Rock You’. But neither is it ‘Another One Bites The Dust’. If you are a Freddy Mercury fan (which I am not), you may want to know a lot more about him than this movie is willing to tell.