The Thing Is... Bohemian Rhapsody
is a feast for the ears
In an era of event movies that mostly consist of big franchises and tons of special effects, there's still magic to be found in the artistry of music and its power to connect people. It's not very often that a movie-going experience can cross genre barriers and transcend generations. But with the not-so-secret weapon of Queen's iconic music in its back pocket, Bohemian Rhapsody has a near fool-proof means of entertaining a wide range of movie-goers. And entertain, it does.
As bio-pics go, the movie somewhat falls short, as it jumps sporadically between various eras in the life of Freddie Mercury and the journey of the band named Queen. It doesn't delve too far into the complexities of his relationships, whether with his family or his loved ones, though every significant relationship is given some screen time. The movie moves at a blistering pace, and there's just no time to dwell on anything more than a few snatches of dialogue and some blink-and-you'll-miss-it montages. In fact, out of all the relationships portrayed, the one that comes out the truest and purest of all is the familial bond between the members of the band.
In my opinion, however, Bohemian Rhapsody isn't meant as a true biopic, but rather as a musical journey. Its best moments are those that capture the inspiration, experimentation and genius of the band. The film reaches for the stars whenever the band is performing, and you feel the rush and raw energy of Queen's music, culminating in an electrifying final performance piece.
The movie is well-acted overall, with a more than capable cast, and the music believably performed. Rami Malek especially delivers an incredible performance, disappearing completely into the role of Freddie Mercury, mimicking his every nuance and gesture on stage and off. There are a few moments of comedy, heart-felt drama and emotion that help to bolster the film as a whole, though nothing that stands out as anything we haven't seen on film before.
If you're looking for a poignant examination of the Aids crisis, or a deep exposé of the darker periods of Freddie Mercury's personal life and the demons he may have struggled with, look elsewhere. Bohemian Rhapsody stands out more as a showcase of artistry and passion. It's a moving film, not because of the personal drama and tragedy that shrouded Freddie's life, although those events do land somewhat of a dramatic punch. But you'll be far more emotionally moved when the band is on stage doing what they do best, and for a moment you feel an ounce of the energy that must have prevailed over a Queen concert.
So I would encourage you to see this movie in theatres, and feel the thud of the drums vibrating your seat, the thunder of the bass in tune with your pulse, the symphonic shred of Brian May's guitar in your ears and that singular voice of Freddie Mercury soaring over it all. That's the true magic of the film, and judging by how he wanted to be remembered, it seems a fitting tribute to one of music's most iconic lead-singers.
Pro tip: I'm not one for promoting specific theatre chains, but if ever there was a movie to be enjoyed in Dolby Atmos Sound, this would be it ;)