Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Picture: Reuters
Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Picture: Reuters

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ fails to strike the right chord

By Jamal Grootboom Time of article published Nov 30, 2018

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"Bohemian Rhapsody" is a film made purely for Queen fans and ends up coming across as an average biopic.

Rating: 3/5

Chronicling the rise of the monumental rock band, Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody" focuses on Freddie Mercury’s (Rami Malek) struggles with fame and his sexuality.

The other band members end up being used as plot devices to move the story along.

Malek is phenomenal in the role and will probably score an Oscar nomination for his performance. However, the fake teeth used to give him Mercury’s famous overbite is atrocious. They are distracting and not an attractive look on Malek.

While it was great seeing how the band got together and how the iconic songs were made, the film felt rushed and too convenient in the way it all fell into place. The pace is wildly off - within 30 minutes, they go from unknown band to rock legends, which is jarring.

The song placements act as anchors for plot points. And while it is an easy way to give a timeline for the film, it comes across as a lazy way of doing it.

Malek’s lip-syncing is fine but there are times when his mouth is out of sync with the words of the song, making it glaringly obvious that he isn’t singing.

The musical performances are grand, but it is apparent that some of them are performed in front of a green screen.

That coupled with the lip syncing lacks the magnetic energy compared to A Star Is Born, in which every musical scene was shot in front of a real-life audience with live vocals.

That is what makes the Lady Gaga led film "A Star is Born" so magical.

One of my greatest fears going into the movie was that director Dexter Fletcher would glaze over Mercury’s queerness.

Luckily, he didn’t. We also get a sense of Mercury’s inner turmoil and loneliness which is a running theme throughout the film.

Overall, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is an okay film and is enjoyable to watch.

However, it would have been a great film had it given us more of the band’s song-making process and focused more on the relationship between the bandmates.

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