REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic chronicling the life of Freddie Mercury after joining the band Queen. The supergroup is known for a wide mix of hits including We Will Rock You, Don’t Stop Me Now, Another One Bites the Dust, Somebody to Love, Killer Queen, Under Pressure, Radio Gaga, Love of My Life, I could list for another few lines but you get the point.
It’s got a pretty rad soundtrack.
I feel like the ending of this movie encapsulates all my praises/grievances with it, and while I won’t really spoil much in the following paragraphs, stop reading now if you want to go in blind.
The last scene of Rhapsody takes place during an event called Live Aid. If you’re a gen Xer or older, you’ll likely remember the Ethiopian benefit concert. Nearly 40% of the entire planet watched during July of 1985.
As far as the film is concerned Queen is at the center of it all.
For the first time in a long time, the guys are ready to embrace who they are as a family, no matter how hard that may be. Freddie specifically has recognized a need to connect with those who he loves most, a change that is certainly earned, and comes across authentically.
The group runs onstage and the music is perfection.
We bounce from audience to bandmates and back again, the outcasts playing to millions of outcasts.
We run the gamete of tragedy, love, lies, and self-awareness; each song thematically emphasizing a different moment in the life of Freddie Mercury.
We are shaken with the power of the setlist and come out the other side legends.
YOU are member of Queen.
A part of their tale to reconciliation and super stardom.
It’s a fantastic end cap that ties the last 2 hours together.
Unfortunately, this film defining montage isn’t very polished. I started noticing these little distractions around the second song: the cinematography is flat, there’s a CGI stadium that looks like it was made in 2008, a few cuts of the concert playing around the world are cheaply used to unnecessarily remind us that so-and-so’s side plot has been resolved.
I hate to make this comparison, but God’s Not Dead did the same thing.
Now I’m 10 minutes in and the length of this Live Aid sequence starts to get really noticeable, and not in the operatic way the song Bohemian Rhapsody does, although that was certainly the intent.
It doesn’t really surprise me.
It consistently makes safe choices and leaves areas unexplored.
I start to care less and less, until the last shot rolls into the station, and a “where-are-they-now” segment graces the credits.
I quietly ditch my empty popcorn bucket, disappointed.
A series of stellar moments that go on for a little too long and close ineffectively. That’s what this finale is. That’s what the movie is. That’s really all I have to say.
It accomplishes more than most but less than a lot.
If you’re an avid fan of the incomparable Rami Malek, an 80s acolyte, or just in it for the soundtrack, go catch it at your local cineplex. Otherwise…maybe rent?