• 10 Nov - 16 Nov, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

Avery loving-made, white-washed biopic about iconic rock band Queen’s member Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is a little too safe as a movie about the 1970’s notorious band’s lead singer. This is a sugarcoated version of the star and his life, which in turn also whole-heartedly celebrates him.

Bohemian Rhapsody, named from Queen’s hit single of the same name, was a six minute long whimsical and psychedelic song, which was almost stopped from releasing by their then-music label’s executive (Mike Myers). The group was made up of rebels with talent and the film applauds just that by portraying the lead singer and it bandmates in that same light while staying away from the nitty-gritties.

The film starts with the 1985 Live Aid concert, when Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) had already become a star, living in a lush mansion and his opulent cats. He gets up and goes to the concert, staged as a scene from a music video. The camera then pulls into a flashback of the1970s where we see Farrokh (Mercury’s birth name), an immigrated Parsi living with his conservative parents and sister.

Farrokh has a humongous overbite, a great voice and penchant for writing lyrics, and eventually meets two college rock band member Roger Taylor and Brian May (Ben Hardy and Gwilym Lee), who have lost their lead singer. The three instantly kick it off after hearing Farrokh sing. Later, Mercury meets Mary (Lucy Boynton), the love of his life, and soon gets engaged, even when Mercury shows tendencies of wandering with unknown men into dirty public toilets. Later John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) also joins Queen.

Credited director Bryan Singer (Dexter Fletcher, had come later in the film to complete it and gets a producer credit) takes the routine route of showing the rise of the star and tries to show the complicated working of the man in an uncomplicated, mollifying way. The film is PG 13, which is good to get wide-audiences involved while showcasing the life of the band in an inoffensive milder fashion at the heights of fame in the 70’s and the 80’s – a time of sexual revolution, and later, aid crisis.

It goes without saying that Bohemian Rhapsody has great music because of Queen, and good acting from the cast. Maleke specially brings a calm sincerity and softness to Mercury. The film has its emotionally manipulatives clichés, but it is still a nice celebration of the iconic band and easily digestible for new audiences. •