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  • Writer's pictureKaveh Jalinous

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018): Film Review

Queen is an iconic band. There is no way to deny that fact. Throughout their career, they produced countless hits, that still find their way into our lives today. So, when it was announced that there was a bio-pic in the work, capturing the creation and career of the band, people were ecstatic. It quickly became one of the most anticipated movies, and people were all around excited to see their favourite band's story on the big screen. Even before reviews were out, people were betting that it would be a big Oscar favourite, and get a few nominations, if not any awards. To put it simply: there were high hopes for this movie. And, after seeing it, it is evident that in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek shines, while everything else does not. And that is truly a shame, because with such an interesting topic and story, there were so many paths a movie like this could have taken. It took the wrong path. The film tells the story of the creation of Queen, and how Freddie Mercury impacted the band, and brought them to the map. We see them blow up in the United Kingdom, and slowly blow up around the rest of the world, as they churn out more and more hits. The story leads from the band's (sort of) formation all the way to the infamous "Live Aid" concert in 1985. With a synopsis like this, the movie was destined to be a success. The story itself is an amazing story, and the source material is beyond iconic. The music is sensational regardless, so that wasn't the problem of the movie. But, there were way too many things wrong with the movie to make it a "good" flick. The story felt watered down to its core, and it honestly felt like it was all "fake", like Bryan Singer had created this band himself and was making up everything as he went along. The consequences of all the character's actions felt forced and untrue, and I have a hard time believing that over half of this movie was real. It felt like one big Hollywood sham, with "Queen" as the victim this time. Bryan Singer is at his worst here, with one of the worst directed films of the year (in all honesty, he was very close to reaching Clint Eastwood 15:17 to Paris levels of bad, which is quite an issue in itself). The directorial style is so flawed, and felt like it belonged in 2002, instead of the advanced technological age we live in. The "Live Aid" concert scene (which encapsulates about 20 straight minutes of a straight-up performance by Queen themselves, with Rami Malek and co. blatantly lip-syncing the words), felt especially fake, with the CGI just not doing its job correctly. At one point in the movie, where the film forces us into a scene where Queen is recording for BBC, the director of the show says: "lip-syncing is how we do it, but no one will be able to notice." This whole interaction made me laugh, because never before have I been able to tell that all the singing was fake so quickly. Right from the first milli-second, it felt absolutely fake, and stayed that way. Main characters are extremely left out of any development whatsoever, and all the events are shoved to the viewer so fast, it feels like a bombardment. There is no apparent scene structure, and everything feels off with every character action, motivation, and movement throughout the film. The film clocks in at 135 minutes, and you can feel that run-time, as it drags on so heavily, while being forced at the same time. It begins to pick up in the last 25 minutes or so, but all 110 minutes before that are sheer hell to watch. I wanted to like this movie, so badly. I love Queen, and think that they will forever be one of the best and most iconic bands in history. I think their music is timeless, and that it can be listened to and enjoyed in while you are in any mood. Whatever the occasion is, there is always a Queen song that fits the vibe perfectly. I think that there is a concept for a good Queen movie somewhere out there, and I pray that we will get that one day. Because, Bohemian Rhapsody is, honestly, a slap in the face to the band. It is a money-making endeavor for Hollywood, which is a true shame, because this is one movie that honestly could have been good if it received the right effort and attention. Instead, we have Rami Malek trying to carry the film on the back, because nothing is working in his favor. He is one great actor (he does an amazing job, by the way), stuck in the vast emptiness of a bad movie. And that truly is a shame right there.


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