Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Movie with Abe: Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody
Directed by Bryan Singer
Released November 2, 2018

Most musicians have a certain style they adhere to, and it’s easy to recognize one of their songs since it sounds at least a little bit like another they’ve produced. As times change, so does the music that’s popular, and those that end up becoming the most listened-to over the years are often lambasted upon their initial breakthroughs, decried as uncivilized or detrimental to society. Seeing those whose music has become immortal and classic at the very start of their careers is usually entertaining, and that sentiment is multiplied exponentially when it comes to one of the most unique and individualistic groups: Queen.

Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) is born when immigrant Farrokh Bulsara changes his name and ditches his job as an airport baggage handler to become the new lead singer for a band he’s been following. He joins bass guitarist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and lead guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) to become Queen, a band that is never concerned with what anyone – certainly not a manager or producer – thinks they should do or should be. Freddie’s life is complicated by uncertainty about his sexuality, navigating relationships with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) and trying to figure out who he truly is along the way.

There’s no denying that the story of Queen is both fun and interesting. This film could have been done any number of ways, but instead it is presented as a straight biopic, which in this case is extremely effective. The band’s most beloved songs are performed during concerts and in the process of being written, serving not as a musical score or anthem but rather as crucial moments along the way in the formation of a truly unforgettable and cutting-edge band, with each song baring almost no similarity to any other. The band members – and their songs – are more than capable of telling this story all by themselves.

Malek, best known as antisocial hacker Elliot on “Mr. Robot,” delivers a transformative and fully engaged performance as Freddie, utterly captivating on screen and totally committed to the role. The sheer physical similarity of Mazzello, Hardy, and Lee to the characters they play is incredible, and fortunately, their depictions are also terrific. The costumes are equally fantastic, and this film is a superb and wildly engaging ride from start to finish, capturing the incomparable energy of Queen in truly magnificent fashion.


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