Unless Christian Bale blows everyone including me away as Dick Cheney in the film Vice that comes out late December, give the Best Actor Oscar to Rami Malek for BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Easily. Within the first five minutes of the movie, I no longer saw Rami Malek, I saw him as Freddie Mercury and couldn’t believe it was someone just playing a role anymore. I was speechless by the end of the film, and could’ve watched a whole different movie with him playing Freddy Mercury for another two hours (we’ll get to that later). The rest of the movie? It’s a standard, very, very fictionalized bio pic of Queen. It does nothing new on screen that you haven’t seen in a musical bio pic before. I’ve heard that a lot of what is on screen, either didn’t really happen, or is a bombastic take on what did really happen. And if you look on Rotten Tomatoes and see the semi-low score from critics, you’ll know that was really their chief complaint. But if you look at the box office, and the audience score on RT, you’ll know that people really didn’t give a shit whether it was fictionalized or not. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle. The movie is never ever boring, they certainly get the music right, and I consider it a privilege seeing Rami Malek’s tremendous work. However, I would now ask that some studio re hire Malek while he is still young looking, and get him to do a more serious bio pic, R-rated, more into the darkness of his life and soul that what I just saw in this.
I think a lot of people would agree with me that if you don’t know Queen, you don’t know music. Several of their songs are stamped into my memory so hard that every so often one of them gets stuck in my head for several days at a time. But if you want their real story, I would suggest watching interviews with the rest of the band, or people that were close to them, heck, maybe even their Wikipedia page, because I believe you will get more truth out of those articles and sound bites than you did in this film. I’m not going to do a full comparison on here, but it’s safe to say that a lot of the ways they came up with songs in the movie, didn’t happen the way you see it in this movie. And yes, I get that with a lot of true stories, filmmakers have to bombastically put fictionalized accounts in the film, because if they didn’t, the studios wouldn’t know how to market the movie, and the movie wouldn’t make any money. Case in point, this movie made $51 million this weekend and is the second highest musical bio pic opening weekend ever. What if a different movie was made, a more down to Earth version, hard Rated R, looking really deeply into Freddie Mercury’s troubled life? Would it have made more or even as much as this one did? I’m very highly doubting it.
What the studio probably should and could do now, but won’t, is have someone write a more personal Freddie Mercury bio pic now, Queen being still in it, but they take a back burner to Freddy Mercury’s homosexuality and AIDS battle, and yet still re cast Rami Malek in the role, and make a much much better thought provoking film than this one. They now have the foundation of the box office success of Bohemian Rhapsody to go on, and Malek’s fantastic performance. That won’t happen though, because the studio won’t want to take a risk with a R-rated more true story pic, and that is sad. That being said, this movie does have re watch value, but that is only because I could watch Rami Malek as Freddie for hours and never be bored, and it is fun listening to all of Queen’s hits over and over and over. How is everybody else’s acting compared to Rami Malek’s? The word I would use is serviceable but completely forgettable. Lucy Boyton (Sing Street) couldn’t been fantastic if she was feature in the film more. The only one memorable role would be that of Mike Myers as a fictional producer that doesn’t want to use Bohemian Rhapsody as Queen’s new featured single on their new album because “it’s too long and nobody will bang their heads to this song.” And the reason why this scene is memorable is just because it is Mike Myers winking to the fact that him and Garth head banged to Bohemian Rhapsody in Wayne’s World back in the early 90s and made the song even more popular than it already was.
The movie is colorful, vibrant, and yes, well directed by Bryan Singer even though the studio is trying to keep his name out of it as much as possible due to his aggressive behavior on set and those gay rape allegations from years ago. Other than Malek’s performance, the Live Aid performance at the very end, and the music, the movie is just standard and adds nothing new to bio pic genre or even film in general. It’s still memorable but on the cusp of being forgettable due to the fact that a lot of things are fictionalized. It does go over Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality and contracting AIDS, but it didn’t do it enough. There is different or another film in there somewhere, 30 minutes longer, with Malek still in the lead role, but more in depth with what was going on with him personally, a film that really got inside its head. This should’ve been that movie, so while I’m a little bit disappointed, I still got something special with Rami Malek. Sometimes you just have to accept the silver lining.