The aftermath of Rami Malek’s electrifying performance of Freddie Mercury might just follow the same trajectory of Jessie Eisenberg’s portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg. People will never be able to see past the one accomplishment and every role hereafter will be measured against this moment. “Bohemian Rhapsody” will likely be Malek’s best film of his career.
Bryan Singer, and more importantly an uncredited director replacement, have assembled a by the numbers music biopic complete with defiance against naysayers, sexual discoveries, band discourse, drugs, booze, illness, a wildly eccentric lead and an altogether sensational soundtrack. This isn’t me complaining however. The film might be formulaic but what else should I expect really?
Though I’m dubious if the compositions really were spawned as depicted, I nevertheless loved every second of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Yeah, I doubt “Another One Bites The Dust” finally sprung to life during an in studio scuffle but as soon as the bass began to play, I was in the moment. Movies should always touch you naturally. The emotional response should never feel forced. It should be be triggered. The music of Queen has that effect for me. Not every song. Some lyrics are downright silly. Yet if “We Are The Champions” is going to be re-enacted during a Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium following a series of setbacks for Mercury, you are going to get caught up in the moment.
The song introductions are the highlights of the film. They carry an energy that leads to lip sync and toe tap. However, the movie doesn’t stop there. I appreciated the strife between Freddie and his disapproving father, his affection for his bandmates and the eventual conflict among them, his struggles with loving Mary, his wife, while coming to grips with his bisexuality, his betrayals among those that used him, and finally his AIDS diagnosis. Every aspect is given enough attention. Still , we are treated to a near full shot for shot re-enactment of Live Aid, one of Freddie’s final performances before his eventual surrender to death.
Called me biased. Yet I’m not a die hard Queen fan. I just found the period set up authentic. The music editing to be well orchestrated and the cast to be spot on. A Mike Myers appearance (look for him but you won’t see how apparent he really is) is inspired.
The film ultimately belongs to Malek. Awards season will be generous to him. He’s comfortable and assured in the attire, the skin, the gravitas and even the teeth of Freddie Mercury. This was a film circulating the press for many years. Everyone seemingly wanted a bio pic. Finally, it has arrived and no one else could have played Freddie Mercury so beautifully as Rami Malek. He’s a miracle!