Tue | Dec 1, 2020

'Bohemian Rhapsody' will rock you - on repeat

Published:Sunday | November 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/Gleaner Writer
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of the rock band Queen in the biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
Joe Mazzello (left), Rami Malek (centre) and Gwilym Lee in a scene from 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
Rami Malek (left) and Gwilym Lee in 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

A movie's job is to tell a story. Sometimes that story can be about the characters in it or the world it's set in, or it can be a metaphor for something greater. Of course, it doesn't matter what the story is. It only matters how well the story is told. In the case of Bohemian Rhapsody, it's a film that tells the story of an outrageous and magnetic performer and the band that changed music forever. The way the story is told is decidedly not outrageous, nor is it magnetic, but it is thoroughly enjoyable.

Freddie Mercury is the first person you meet when the curtains open on Bohemian Rhapsody. Emerging from his trailer, the camera tracks him as best it can as he sets off to take the stage. Flashback to the life and times of one Farrokh Bulsara, Freddie's birth name, a buck-toothed long-haired member of a conservative family with a dream as big as his voice. It's a very strong opening and one that expertly sets the stage for the unfolding of the man behind

the voice.

After that point, the film follows a strangely repetitive, yet still entertaining, path. Bohemian Rhapsody is broken up into segments of watching as the band constructs their most iconic hits. They're mesmerising moments of watching the smallest elements of a multilayered song like Bohemian Rhapsody come together to be the legend that it is.

After a while, though, you realise that's what the film is. You watch a song come together then watch Mercury grapple with success and fame, and rinse and repeat. There's even a point when the characters themselves note the monotony of the film's trajectory. The only thing keeping these scenes from becoming grating is that they happen to be surrounding Queen songs, some of the most intricate rock songs in existence.

Still, despite some narrative flaws, I have nothing but praise for the cast. Across the board, the actors make this film, but Rami Malek's Freddie Mercury could easily go down as one of the best portrayals in a biopic thus far. Even if you hadn't ever seen Freddie Mercury speak or move, Malek seems to embody him through and through and crafts a performance that does justice to the legend and the man himself. Top it off with an end sequence that's simply electrifying, and Bohemian Rhapsody is well worth your time.

Rating: Big-Screen Watch