Movie review: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' won't rock you
You're better off watching Queen's Live Aid performance on YouTube
At best, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is Queen cosplay.
This limp biography of the British arena rockers — and frontman Freddie Mercury in particular — has all the soul of a greatest hits compilation and plot holes the size of a stadium that is stomp-stomp-clapping along to "We Will Rock You." To ignore those glaring inaccuracies and blindly go along with the program does a disservice to Queen and the truth in general.
"Mr. Robot" star Rami Malek does do tremendous work as Mercury; it's a shame he's in a movie that shouldn't be taken any more seriously than "Rock of Ages." Malek certainly looks the part and wears oversized upper teeth to capture Mercury's famous overbite, caused by the four extra incisors which, as lore has it, gave him his famous voice.
The other bandmates — Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor are credited as producers — are there primarily to react to Mercury, and to give disapproving looks as Mercury grows more flamboyant and more dismissive of his band. It is extremely typical rock biopic stuff as played out on "Behind the Music" and seemingly every VH1 original movie in existence.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" builds to Queen's legendary performance at Live Aid, which director Bryan Singer (who was replaced during filming by Dexter Fletcher) stages using way too many obviously CGI-enhanced visuals, which stamp out the very life that made that performance so transcendent. The story leaps screenwriter Anthony McCarten makes to get them to Live Aid (he sets it up as a reunion gig of sorts, even though the band toured extensively in the run-up to the show) are egregious.
Near the end of the film, a concerned party tells Mercury, "Freddie, you're burning the candle at both ends," to which he responds, "but the glow is so divine!" If only the same could be said about "Bohemian Rhapsody," which takes the fire of Queen and reduces it to a flicker.
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language
Running time: 135 minutes