Length: 134 minutes / 2.23 hours
It’s difficult to hate a film that’s filled with so many great songs. Fortunately for Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), almost all of Queen’s greatest hits are pulled out and strung together to cover a rather large timeframe of 15 years. Of course, like most musical biopics, it does tend to hit the same notes as predecessors before it. Perhaps this is merely due to the “rock and roll” lifestyle, but I couldn’t help but see similar situations in films like De-Lovely (2004), Ray (2004), and Walk the Line (2005).
While the cultural landscape has changed a lot from the 1970s and 1980s until now, some of the film’s “reveals” that would have been a little more shocking (i.e. Freddie’s homosexuality) were perhaps lessened due to the fairly famous end of this talented singer. That being said, some of the lyrics of these well-known songs take on a strikingly more poignant context during the recreated Live Aid concert in 1985. Of course, since most of the movie focuses on Freddie Mercury (an extremely-on point Rami Malek), it was easy to also gloss over the extreme talent of Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Queen’s lead guitarist. Listen to those guitar riffs and tell me he wasn’t just as important as Freddie.
I was a little surprised to find that Bryan Singer (of X-Men (2000) movie fame) directed this film, but his unique style certainly helped bring this band’s tale to life. If anything, this film made me think a little bit more about Queen, and how there really wasn’t a band like them before, and there really hasn’t been a band like them since. Sure, there’s the shoehorned drama and the drugs and sex that inevitably come between band members, but it was still an entertaining ride, nonetheless. And the fact that I learned just a little bit more about these musicians is just icing on the cake.
A pretty standard musical biopic with some extraordinary source material, I give Bohemian Rhapsody 4.0 stars out of 5.