I rarely feel the need to defend a movie, but with “Bohemian Rhapsody”, I’m willing to make an exception. Early reviews were far from encouraging, and there’s no denying that the movie feels rushed at first, uneven at times, and doesn’t include all the songs that made “Queen” the band we all know today. Know what? It’s still a pretty damn good movie. I guess when you make a biopic, you can’t always include every single detail, but the essentials are here, from Freddie Mercury’s rise in the early 70’s, to his iconic performance at Live Aid in Wembley in 1985. Director Bryan Singer takes a closer look to what made Freddie (and his band mates) tick in the mid 70’s, especially when they were in the process of producing their greatest hit yet: Bohemian Rhapsody. And you couldn’t ask for a better actor to fill these tricky shoes; Rami Malek is sensational, and probably the main reason to see this biopic. And in a short space of time, he makes us forget that he is acting and persuades us that he is indeed the legendary Freddie Mercury. He is stubborn but vulnerable, and the movie doesn’t shy away from the truth. A key sequence finds him opening up to his band mates right before a major concert about his battle with AIDS. The timing struck me as somewhat odd, but it leads to one of his most iconic performances, and this is where Freddie Mercury shone. It’s one of the main reasons why he is remembered so well, and Malek truly knocks it out of the park.
Musically, the film is a feast, right and riveting in every detail. Just watch Queen in the studio, experimenting on “Bohemian”, which uses a mixture of styles to approach what Mercury hears in his head. It’s a total blast, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen. My only complaint is that Queen’s rise to fame was rushed in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and I personally would have loved to see more about that. No matter. If you love Freddie Mercury and Queen, you’ll immediately warm to this film. It may not be flawless, but it won me (and the audience around me) over.