Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazello, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Mike Myers, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Aaron McCusker
Director: Bryan Singer
Release date: 24th October 2018
London, 1970, and a young man named Farrokh Bulsara is working a dead-end job as a baggage handler in Heathrow Airport. He lives at home with his mum, dad and sister, and one night he heads out to a local club where a band called ‘Smile’ is performing to a large crowd. After the gig, their lead singer, Tim tells the others that he’s leaving to join another band. Crestfallen remaining band members, Brian May and Roger Taylor then meet Farrokh who tells them he’s a big fan of the band. On hearing the news of Tim’s departure, Farrokh offers to become their new lead vocalist. Flash forward to a year later and ‘Smile’ have been re-named as ‘Queen’. They have their first record deal and get to perform on BBC’s ‘Top of the Pops’. Things escalate rapidly for the band and soon they are touring the world…
‘Queen’ was a worldwide success and also one of the UK’s best known bands. Their performance at Live Aid in London in 1985 would go on to be known to be known as one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music, and their final performance together as a band was at Knebworth in 1986. Freddie Mercury died in 1991, of Bronchopneumonia, a complication of the AIDS virus. Record sales for ‘Queen’ are around 200 million, and they are believed to be one of the best-selling bands in history.
At its’ core, a biopic of Freddie’s life, starting with his meeting the other band members, this movie is a love story to the phenomenon that is Queen. What was ultimately a tragic story can also be seen as the birth of a legend. Freddie and the rest of ‘Queen’ had their ups and downs but ultimately they were a family, with a bond that could never be broken.
A movie with a lot of heart, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reminds us what an enigmatic character Freddie was and also of how his legacy continues to this day. The connections he made during his relatively short life have left a huge mark on the world.
Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie is simply breath-taking and it’s almost as though he was born for this role. Every gesture, wink and side-glance is ‘pure Freddie’ and it’s blatantly obvious that a lot of research went into filling such talented shoes. The rest of the cast is fantastic too, and you can definitely see the younger selves of the other members of ‘Queen’. One other nice little bonus is seeing the brilliantly funny Mike Myers (Wayne’s World, Austin Powers) as EMI boss, Ray Foster. He looks a bit like a poor man’s Jeff Lynne but still adds that little comedic sparkle to the movie.
Fans of the band will really love this movie, even though there are a few little time discrepancies scattered around. They aren’t the worst thing in the world though, and the music of ‘Queen’ pumps like a beating heart throughout the film. Hit after hit, after hit, each song will provoke a memory or a feeling, and if you were lucky enough to live through the 80s, perhaps you’ll watch this movie and think to yourself, ‘What a time to be alive…’