The day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday), Sweet T and I chose to go see the biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Growing up, Queen served as a stalwart comprising the soundtrack of both our lives with anthems like “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions, ”Another One Bites the Dust,” and the epic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The film, while focusing on lead singer Freddie Mercury, tells the story of how Queen came to be one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands of all time. Formed in 1970, Queen’s classic line-up consisted of flamboyant frontman Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and bassist John Deacon.
The film stars Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Joe Mazzello playing John Deacon, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, and Gwilym Lee portraying his human doppelgänger, guitarist Brian May. All four men do a superb job authentically playing their respective counterparts with Malek delivering an Oscar-worthy performance of the defiant, determined Mercury. Perhaps the realistic delivery of each character is a direct result of the influence of May and Taylor on the actual production of the film.
Lucy Boynton plays Mary Austin, the longtime love of Mercury’s life, who understood him like no one else could. Allen Leech, best known for his role as Tom Branson in Downton Abbey, outdoes himself performing the self-serving heel of the story. Tom Hollander, portraying longtime Queen manager Jim Beech, and Aaron McCusker playing Jim Hutton both deliver memorable performances.
The film focuses on Mercury, as it should, because arguably without him the world would not know of the band Queen. He synthesizes the individual members of the band, bringing out their best while testing their tolerance of his larger-than-life persona. Privately, Mercury appears to be far different from his public persona, looking to find himself and, at the end of the day, becoming a man who a father might be proud to call son. Mercury struggles with his vices and personal demons, struggling to be himself in society not-yet-receptive to his sexuality, as is evidenced in his choice to keep his infection with the AIDS virus under wraps. The film does a decent job tapping into the heart of Mercury, who, like each of us, wanted to know love and experience being loved. The film’s hidden strength undoubtedly lies in revealing how some of the best-known songs of our lives were shaped and formed.
While it’s not a great movie, it does a good job telling the story of Mercury and Queen, featuring strong performances by a number of individual actors. Rami Malek, best known for playing the twerky lead in Mr. Robot, delivers a magnificent, Oscar-worthy portrayal of Mercury, solidifying his status as one of the best actors currently working. Overall, Sweet T and I enjoyed the film, finding it enlightening and entertaining.
The Devotional Guy™