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Bohemian Rhapsody Review - Four Stars! Wild, The Poetic Genius Continues

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Bohemian Rhapsody, from 20th Century Fox, presents the story of the legendary Freddie Mercury, and the radical 1970’s experimental rock band Queen, and how they transformed themselves and every other sound by making bold and outrageous musical choices.

Directed by Bryan Singer, Bohemian Rhapsody stars Remi Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello, Gwilyn Lee, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Aaron McCusker, Michelle Duncan, Ace Bhatti, Meneka Das, Priya Blackburn, Neil Fox-Roberts and Dermont Murphy.

Bohemian Rhapsody begins on the morning of the 1985 Live Aid concert, which was billed as the biggest concert in all over history with a global audience of 1.5billion. We see a typical rock star entourage, with a back of a muscle shirted Freddie Mercury, played by Remi Malek, heading up the stage to perform.

With that we fade to the 1970’s with Freddie/aka Fariq working at Heathrow, handling the luggage. Soon he is home and we met his family, his father, Bomi Bulsara, played by Ace Bhatti, his mom, Jer Bulsara, played by Meneka Das, and sister, Kashmira, played by Priya Blackburn.

Next we see Freddie enjoying a band that he has been following for a while. Heading out to congratulate them on their performance we met guitarist Brian May, played by Gwilym Lee, and drummer Roger Taylor played by Ben Hardy trying to figure out what to do know as their lead singer just quit.


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Fortune favors the bold we see, as they pick up Freddie for vocals and hire John Deacon, played by Joseph Mazello, to play bass. We also met Mary, Freddie’s lover played by Lucy Boynton.

With the dynamics in place the band is selling out every pub, dance club and bar all over England, when Freddie, who had vision not only for himself but for the band whom they all agreed were a family unit, decided to sell the band van and record an album.

Driven by solid work ethics he made sure he and the band used every minute of the time they purchased and as luck would have it the A&R man came in early and caught the last few minutes of their studio session and decided they were talented enough to send to John Reed, played by Aiden Gillen.

Reed who handled Elton John met with the band and decided he would manager them, with Paul  Prenter, played by Allen Leech, to handle the day to day affairs. Soon the album hit the charts in the US and Reed books a US Tour that has Queen selling out every major city. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

Life on the road for rock stars, in the 1970’s is one party stop after the other even for the most grounded, the tantalizing temptations of anything one ever thought about, dreamed of, wanted, desired, lusted for, or imagined, it’s all there. Ask ,and on a sell out tour, its yours. Which is where Freddie begins to be seriously seduced by an attraction to men.

Back to London, we meet an ever bigger team, EMI’s Ray Foster, played by Mike Meyers, who wants an album and attorney Jim Beach, played by Tom Hollander. They want an album and they want it now. So the boys are off to an obscure farm in the middle of nowhere with one goal, make music history, create unforgettable and legendary music that will live forever.

What follows is the fallout from EMI, snake Paul, the eyes and ears of manager John Reed circumventing Freddie, a band break-up, a family reunion, new lives, new lovers, and a hard dose of reality.

Critically Bohemian Rhapsody was a fantastical tale, the unbelievable true story of how one of the most successful rock and roll bands took a chance, rolled the dice and tried as much experimental musical combinations as they could. A gamble that paid off. And the flip side, the good fortune became the best and worst nightmare.

The film also explores the gay culture of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s where multiple of partners a night was not uncommon. As Freddie spent the final decades of his life as a gay man, the film shows both his engagement and life with Mary Austin, whom he cared for as he promised her he would, and his life as a gay man, which had seriously dark, tormented moments and in the end a normalcy.

Of course the film was not without controversy, and I can hear Freddie say, because there is no one more controversial than he, this time however with sixteen days left in production and all of post, the film’s director Bryan Singer was replaced by Dexter Fletcher. The DGA has since ruled the sole credit for the film belonged to Singer.


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The cast delivers a four star wild ride. Remi Malek is unbridled as Freddie Mercury. The performance is outrageous and shockingly good. As the band Joseph Mazzello, Gwilyn Lee, Ben Hardy are spot on. With the focus is on the Live Aid concert, and we see why as the film comes full circle, Freddie’s dive into the gay culture wasn’t exploited and as he died of complications from AIDS it is obvious it was consuming.

I really enjoyed this film. It is a rock and roll good time with concert footage, behind the velvet rope access, and of course all the clichés of super celebrity lifestyles.

Bohemian Rhapsody opens November 2, 2018. For Queen groupies or rock and roll fans it is a really remarkable film.

 

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