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BBC – Culture – Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

"We need to be experimental," says Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, while Queen records her debut album. Obviously nobody told the people who made the movie the same thing. Mercury's long-awaited biopic may be named after Queen's superlatively innovative anthem, but he's barely a fraction of the arrogant size or adventurousness of this song. It looks like a soap opera and it goes through the same chord progression as any previous rock biopic. In other words, some musicians come together; they record their greatest successes while wearing a succession of less than convincingly shaggy wigs; and their assets are rising, falling and rising again.

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Scripted by Anthony McCarten (Darkest Hour, The Theory of Everything and Other Efficient, But Bohemian Rhapsody sticks to a structure that may have seemed clichéd in the heyday of Queen & # 039; s unpardonable since being parodied in Walk Hard, but thanks to his likeable, charismatic lead actor and some of the most uplifting pop music In the twentieth century, the film deserves the review dedicated to the group's most memorable single, which is cited midway: it is "perfectly adequate."

It could definitely have been worse, the production was so uneasy the good director, Bryan Singer, was replaced by Dexter Fletcher, so the finished movie is much more coherent than it could have been Freddie (Rami Malek) if he is still called Farrokh Bulsara. He has just moved from Zanzibar to England with his Indian Parsi family and has reinvented himself as a long-haired London clubber – much to the dismay of his affectionate but conservative parents (Ace Bhatti and Meneka Das). Not that the movie has a lot of time for family problems. After just a few minutes, Bulsara meets a student rock band called Smile (quite conveniently, her vocalist has just quit). And after just a few minutes, he renames Freddie Mercury and the band Queen.

There is a smallness and cheapness for the film, which indicates that it costs less than making one of their albums

Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us that the other members of the group have written many of their hits – one after another they have the chance to say, "Hey, I have an idea for a song!" But they do not do much else. We certainly do not know how or why they have developed their unique combination of musical styles. Hardly ever shown individually, the non-Freddie band members occasionally appear as a trio, struggling through some yielding and then disappearing, leaving only a faint impression of Who's Who. As far as I can tell, Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), the drummer, is a womanizer and the one most likely to argue with Freddie; Brian May, the guitarist, is the meek peacemaker; and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), the bass player, is – well, all he does is smirk from the sideline, which may have been because Taylor and May produced the film, and not Deacon.

With the help of various managers (including two played by Aidan Gillen and Tom Hollander) and various montages, the band makes the familiar journey to global superstar, but it does not seem all that global or so super. Merkur once said that Queen of the Cecil B DeMille is the rock bands because they always wanted to have everything bigger and better, but there is a smallness and cheapness for the film, which suggests that it costs less than one of their albums. Where is the glamor? Where are the famous faces and the spectacular escapades? Bohemian Rhapsody could trade for much of the term from an indie band scoring a top-10 single

Mercury rising

But stick with it. With all due respect to May, Taylor and Deacon, the film improves exponentially when it ignores them and focuses on Mercury. That is, when it comes to being decent but boring guys arguing over lyrics, and starting to be over an outsider overwhelmed by loneliness, tormented by his sexuality and intruders, and addicted to the Joy is that could bring him through the night. Alienated from the band, he calls his family just as he collapsed with his biological family a decade ago. Mercury is alone with his domestic cats, a gang of followers and a soul mate, Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) from his fiancé to his platonic friend.

Malek is more and more similar to Mercury as the movie continues

The film's focus on this straight relationship has sparked much grumbling in the social media. There were also complaints about his decision to make him a beloved public favorite with a 12A / PG13 certificate, while in reality his hero was so outrageous that he was able to teach Casanova lessons. But these objections are not quite fair. While it's true that Bohemian Rhapsody does not put much on the screen, which scares away the family crowd, Mercury slams pills, visits fetish clubs, throws the wildest parties into the city and, after a certain anguish, embraces the life of gay man. Mama Mia, it is not.

It also seems surprising, mainly because of Malek's rich performance. Mercury was supposed to be played for a while by Sacha Baron Cohen and then by Ben Whishaw. But Malek owns the role: he seems to be obsessed with both the pouting, cheering showman Mercury in public, and the pouting, lost soul he could be private. The scary thing is that Malek Merkur is becoming more and more alike as the movie continues – nothing like him in the beginning, but in the end almost indistinguishable from him. And he has such an amazingly expressive face that he can even trade while carrying a huge amount of false teeth: Mercury may have had an overbite in real life, but in the movie he has incisors to compete with a cartoon bunny.

Malek's finest moments are also Mercury's finest moments: when he pulls out at Wembley Stadium, as Monarch, as the namesake of his band, for Queen's career revival of Live Aid in 1985. The bravest decision of the film -makers should include almost the entire set. But at this point they deserve the right to turn a drama into a triumphant concert video. Bohemian Rhapsody can bore you or irritate you for an hour. But eventually it will rock you and it could move you too.

★★★ ☆

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