‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is too safe for what it was, and also too uncertain to try new things. The band in-focus, the iconic Queen, is known for obscure musical choices. The title of the film, probably their most popular song, is a blend of opera, rock, and straight ballad.
It’s this type of innovation that this film needs to transcend. But it seems this is not the film they wanted.
It is a by-the-numbers narration of the band’s rise to success through the eyes of their frontman Freddie Mercury. The film follows how some of their songs are created and at the same time, Mercury’s internal battle about his sexuality.
It’s a story that seems to be pulled out of a coffee table book of these musicians, with not enough flavor to flaunt its storytelling.
The biggest highlight of this film is the music. The last 20-30 minutes literally is a recreation of the 1985 Live Aid concert, in which songs are performed in its entirety. It’s a delight to just look how they pulled it off, and you know they really worked hard for this specific moment.
But you have to realize that if you’re just going into this film to just listen to the songs, why not listen to the real thing?
If there’s one thing to go here, it’s Rami Malek. Malek, in probably a career-changing performance as Mercury, was fantastic. What he did was definitely difficult given how embraced Mercury is in real-life, and imitation is not the right word to describe it. That’s how great he was. But then again, a lackluster material will only get so far.
I understand why some people will leave screenings for this film feeling complete. It presents Queen as a band without any flaw, with the exemption of a few arguments.
But are arguments enough? One might mistake the whole thing as a sugarcoat. It is one.
There are darker and more exciting trivia to present that I feel would benefit to the frenetic vibe they want to set up (but oh so failed to execute given the strict adherence to the template). Allow me to put that on the many what-ifs of Hollywood films.