BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – A Review by Gadi Elkon

"I won't be a rock star.  I'll be a legend."  – Freddie Mercury   

Here is my full review of 20th Century Fox's BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Movies are supposed to entertain.  BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY completly lives up to that sentence.  Bryan Singer has brought forth his most entertaining film, & yes I love Usual Suspects too.  Overall the acting, incredible cinematography and the music (oh the music!) engulfs your senses and gives us the year's most raucous fun.

The songs are iconic and the film doesn't shy away from giving us all the stories behind the epics.  The band's push for an operatic album.  Freddie's constant notion of pushing the boundaries with unique sounds and ideas.  Brian May's now infamous double stomp clap melody and his guitar licks that mirrored Mercury's voice.  The music is integral to the plot and to the Queen legacy.  You find yourself humming, stomping and even for some of you singing along to each wonderful moment of musical bliss.  The film's ending is bold enough to give us the epic full LIVE AID set that puts the ! to the movie.  I've heard enough of how great A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody is the better musical and emotional movie of 2018.

Rami Malek embodies Freddie Mercury with a real gusto.  He lacks the height but his bravado and pomp explode on screen.  He really seems to connect with each incarnation of Freddie over the years.  His early shyness to his bold choices are perfectly mixed with his wild drug filled days and his painful final years.  No matter the era or time though his style was on point whether a simple scarf as an accessory or a full fledge leather suit.  The transformation from I Robot secrecy to Freddie Mercury deserves a ton of recognition.  Gwilym Lee is spot on for Brian May and those famous long curls.  Lee commands a true nod to the greatness of Queen's success and the film does a great job of showcasing his importance.  Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor gets to have a lot of fun and pokes and prods his way from scene to scene with a real delight.  Joseph Mazzello is not just the quiet bassist John Deacon he is the real rock of the group and shines brightest in the band's most difficult moments.  Aiden Gillen (John Reid), Tom Hollander (Jim Beach), & Lucy Boynton (Mary Austin) all are brilliant as the team that believes in Queen and Freddie.  Boynton's performance does get a nice arc as we see her in Freddie's lowest moments.  Allen Leach as Paul Prenter is a real scene stealer as the sleazy slug that ultimately separates Freddie from the band.  Mike Myers as executive Ray Foster is a bit of a campy comedic joke but it does pay off especially in the end of the film.  Ace Bhatti as Freddie's father is the real emotional pull of the film and his struggles with his son are wonderfully punctuated throughout the movie.  Susan Figgis casting is spot on for the film and the change of Sacha Baron Cohen to Rami ends up benefiting the movie.  

Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel has helped Bryan Singer showcase the darker elements of film from Usual Suspects to Apt Pupil to the X-Men and Superman days.  But I think Newton's work on Three Kings (David O. Russell), Drive (Nicholas Winding Refn), Marshall (Reginald Hudlin), and his early days on Wonder Years and Cop Rock have really helped Singer find a new lighter more musical pace.  Sigel captures our band with extreme clarity and allows their wild movement on stage to rule the frame.  A younger Singer may have concentrated on the darker side of the Queen story, but instead we are given more the upbeat.  We are given a film that wants us to remember why this band become so beloved and huge.  This movie wants you to hum along, stomp and clap accordingly, and when you get the guts to belt out the songs with Freddie.  

Run to see this film.    

Directed by Bryan Singer
Written By Peter Morgan (Story By) & Anthony McCarten (Story and Screenplay By)
Rated PG-13
Selig Rating A
Running Time  2 hr 14 min
Biography, Drama, Music
Release : November 2nd 
Starring: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Aiden Gillen, Lucy Boynton, Allen Leach, Mike Myers, Ace Bhatti
 
The Selig Rating Scale:
 
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.