In the week where the Queen biopic won four Oscars, “Bohemian Rhapsody” arrives on DVD/Blu Ray with a ton of momentum behind it. The film was also a huge box office smash, despite the disarray that went on behind the scenes which you can probably read about elsewhere. But anyway, back to the film at hand.
The film follows the band from their humble beginnings as Freddie (Rami Malek) joins up with Brian May and Roger Taylor as their band Smile is on its last legs. Freddie takes over vocal duties and John Deacon joins them on bass, as we go through all the big moments of the bands career. From the early success playing radio friendly rock music, through the recording of “A Night at the Opera” which turned out to be a very contentious record between Queen and their record label at the time. The closing scenes focus on the band’s most famous live performance, their 20 minute set at Live Aid, in the summer of 1985. All these scenes show how each actor meticulously studied the movements and performance techniques of the band member they are playing, and this is especially obvious when you see side by side comparisons of archive footage of the band against what was shot for the film. Rami Malek has the toughest job as he attempts to channel the force of nature that was Freddie Mercury and he does a good job, for the most part. The standout to me was Gwilym Lee as Brian May, as he not only looked the part, but he captured May’s soft spoken nature perfectly.
The big reminder for people that watch this is how good Queen were as a band, and how good their music was, but between hearing all the hits and seeing how some of them came about, there are some quiet moments which show Freddie’s inner conflict, as well as the trappings of fame which are a result of being the front man of one of the biggest bands in the world. His relationship with Mary Austin (of who he often said was his only friend) is explored, as is the beginning of his relationship with long term partner Jim Hutton. However seeing as this film is primarily about the band the focus shifts back to the other members, and you’re left wanting more when it comes to those aspects of Mercury’s personal life.
While “Bohemian Rhapsody” may play fast and loose with the truth at times, it features some good performances as well as having an absolutely cracking soundtrack that not only features some of the all time Queen classics, but drops in some other 70’s and 80’s songs for good measure.
Theses are the wise and learned words of our Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff.
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