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Bohemian Rhapsody


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The climax of Bryan Singer / Dexter Fletcher’s Bohemian Rhapsody is a real time reconstruction of Queen’s performance at Live Aid in 1985. The sequence exemplifies what works and fails in this uneven biopic of Freddie Mercury, a towering figure of flamboyance and creativity, both of which are on display in Rami Malek’s electrifying performance. The sequence is thrilling and enrapturing, conveying a sense of the atmosphere at Live Aid which is a cultural touchstone for many music fans, and Queen fans could ask for little more. However, what does the film offer for non-Queen fans? Singer and Fletcher, working from Anthony McCarten’s script, display adoration for the music and the creative minds behind it, including Freddie himself, Bryan May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joe Mazzello). The scenes of creativity are some of the film’s most entertaining, especially the composition of ‘We Will Rock You’. By drawing the whole band in some detail, Bohemian Rhapsody does express the tension between friendship and creativity. The downside is that there is little dramatic weight behind these scenes. This lack of gravity is despite Freddie’s various personal dramas, such as his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton), his realization and embrace of his true sexuality, and his diagnosis of AIDS. These topics are progressed through rather than struggled with, lacking the emotional heft and stylistic flair of the concert sequences. The most striking moment of the film is an aerial tracking shot over the Live Aid audience, which gives a sense not only of the scale of the event but also briefly expresses the enthralling experience. Beyond the concert sequences, however, Bohemian Rhapsody maintains a frustrating distance from its subject, presenting a rhapsodic life without expressing it.



  1. […] for this year in pairs, Gary Oldman and Alison Janney presenting Leading Actor to Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody while Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell presented Leading Actress to Olivia Colman for The […]

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