The production difficulties with which BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY was struggling, film fans didn’t foresee anything good for a long time. Now the film about the band Queen and their legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who takes a lot of artistic liberties and is spot on, is finally being released in cinemas and destroys all bad premonitions. We reveal more about this in our review!
The Plot Summary
In 1970, Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) founded the band Queen, which would later become one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Songs like “Killer Queen”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Are The Champions” and “We Will Rock You” make the musicians immortal, but behind the facade of lead singer Freddie Mercury an emotional tornness slowly becomes noticeable. The Parsee, who comes from Zanzibar, not only has to come to terms with his sexuality, which for a long time was indefinable for him. More and more often, those around him seem to want something different than he does. When his great love Mary (Lucy Boynton) separates from him, Freddie also breaks off contact with his band members and tries to be just as successful solo. Only much too late does he realize that he has actually long since found a family with whom he wants to play at the legendary Live Aid concert in 1985 – the biggest concert in the world!
Movie explanation of the ending
First, Rami Malek, who was largely unknown in United Kingdom, replaced him (“Papillon”) “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen for the lead role of Freddie Mercury, then director Bryan Singer (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) Fired 16 days before filming was completed and Dexter Fletcher (“Eddie the Eagle: Anything is Possible”) had to step into the breach for the major “Queen Biopic” project. Strictly speaking, all signs point to catastrophe, but as a viewer you don’t notice any of these internal production problems – and not just because the only name mentioned in the credits is Bryan Singer as director. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a large-scale portrait of an even larger band, based largely on true events, that focuses equally on the tender soul of the legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury and the music itself. So that the two fit together so perfectly , the facts were not oriented one-to-one. “Bohemian Rhapsody” works entirely according to cinematic standards, which also includes cheating a little in favor of narrative transitions when it comes to depicting reality. But ultimately it doesn’t matter at all whether the various songs were actually created as described here. Just as it is dramaturgically much wiser to draw suspense in the finale from the question of whether the band’s Live Aid concert will work, even though the members haven’t played together for years (which in reality wasn’t the case). In the end, it’s about the pull that “Bohemian Rhapsody” develops – and it’s quite something!
Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) at one of Queen’s performances.
“It’s not a biopic, it’s a film about Freddie and Queen where we took creative freedom!” – that’s what Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May said about “Bohemian Rhapsody” after a concert in Hamburg and explains in just one sentence what makes the film so appealing. Screenwriter Anthony McCarten (“The Darkest Hour”) quite meticulously follows the typical stages of a classic canvas portrait (rise, fall, re-ascension, final triumph), but with this structure he makes it all the more clear that details that may be (mis)interpreted as inaccuracies are very much intentional – even if life by Freddie Mercury has film potential even without small dramaturgical corrections, everything in “Bohemian Rhapsody” follows a very cinematic plan. And so “Bohemian Rhapsody” is not just a very musical (all of the band’s big hits are at least played, if not completely) and emotional film, but also one that is simply damn entertaining. However, the makers only shed light on the really big and well-known illness drama surrounding Mercury, who died of AIDS in November 1991. This proves to be the optimal decision on two levels. On the one hand, the two directors – no matter who shot which passages of the film – succeed in creating a film that is always highly sensitive but never voyeuristic, and which is primarily about highlighting the genius status of the band that shaped the musical zeitgeist. On the other hand, the very few moments in which we watch Freddie through the window during his doctor’s consultation, or he simply looks self-reflecting in the mirror, are enough to understand the whole drama that the gifted singer always had behind him. With just the blink of an eye, Rami Malek manages to bring the phrase “look into a person’s soul” to life. There is no need for explicit scenes of great tragedy, just to emphasize what is already obvious to everyone.
Because the script only sheds light on Freddie Mercury’s story of suffering, the many moments on and behind the stage can be enjoyed, while at the same time the awe of the band’s achievements increases as the playing time progresses, for example when the lyrics of individual songs reflect events in real life in a sarcastic way way to comment. As a result, “Bohemian Rhapsody” subtly provokes wet eyes from time to time – but at the same time there are also many scenes in which one can laugh extensively. In particular, the scenes between Queen and the producers and music label heads working behind the scenes are among the film’s biggest highlights; After all, we now know very well how successful the band later became – even though their style clearly moved away from what was currently selling well on the radio. If the one from Mike Myers (“Terminal – Revenge Has Never Been More Beautiful”) Ray Foster, played in a wonderfully detached manner, rejects the boys with the words “Nobody will listen to Queen!”, then there is no need for a punchline that works specifically towards a punch line; sometimes life itself is ridiculous enough. And “Bohemian Rhapsody” manages to emphasize exactly that again and again and mix it with all the emotions that reality has in store for you. So over time the film develops into an emotional ups and downs. On the one hand, the directors follow the band’s (musical) triumph, repeatedly letting the audience take part in re-enacted concert performances, taking them into the studio, where new hits that shape the music scene are created using unconventional means, and in turn portraying the life of Freddie Mercury opposite. Love, suffering, joy, arguments – what Mercury once only shared with his closest confidants, the film now shares with us.
Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) was married to Freddie Mercury for several years.
The 37-year-old Californian Rami Malek, who some will probably recognize from the acclaimed series “Mr. Robot” is likely to be known, has adopted the style, the gestures and facial expressions, the sad, empty look, but also the energy pulsating through Mercury’s body during the performances, so naturally that it would border on a scandal if Malek didn’t be nominated for at least an Oscar. Around him are Gwilym Lee (“The Tourist”)Ben Hardy (“No Way Out – Against the Flames”) and Joseph Mazzello (“G.I. Joe – Billing”) the three Queen members Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, who are never overshadowed by Freddie Mercury (“We are all legends!”). The literal interaction works excellently on both a musical and a personal level. The same goes for the relationship between Malek and Lucy Boynton (“Sing Street”), from whom you can always buy the inner conflict between loving willingness to sacrifice and the desire for self-realization. And speaking of music: In order to reinforce the feeling of authenticity, the makers didn’t resort to plain playback of the usual studio versions. Instead, the makers used countless of the existing original test recordings, all of which were recorded in advance with a sound-alike. Using these recordings, lead actor Rami Malek was not only able to rehearse his singing, but also see how his face and posture change while singing so that his performance looks authentic. The actor actually sang during the filming itself before the sound-alike was used again in post-production. The illusion of Rami Malek completely merging with his role is perfect – if you don’t have goosebumps in the last twenty minutes, you probably won’t feel anything at all – and here we’re just dealing with the recreated recordings of the Live Aid concert do, which is one of the best film scenes in many, many years and reaches its perfect conclusion at the point of absolute ephoria.
Conclusion: “Bohemian Rhapsody” achieves the great feat of turning people who have never had any contact with the band into Queen fans. And despite some inaccuracies in the portrayal part, which only purists will be bothered by, the music film is also a highly emotional portrait of a fascinating personality that Rami Malek embodies with fervor, passion and sensitivity. They Will Rock You!
“Bohemian Rhapsody” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from Wednesday, October 31st.