‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Remembers Queen on the Silver Screen

Quint Hanson, Staff Reporter

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When British rock band Queen produced their hit song “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1975, critics and fellow artists alike thought it would never even make it on the radio. Fast forward to 2018, and the now-legendary song and band have been immortalized in a film of the same name.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” follows the story of Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) from the night he met his bandmates to their unforgettable performance at the Live Aid concert. The film opens on Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, distancing himself from his family on the night he replaced Tim Staffell (Jack Roth) as lead singer of Queen, known then as Smile.

College gigs and brief studio time turns into a chance meeting with a well-respected band manager, which leads Queen to their first live broadcast and live shows across the US and the UK. Live shows mean eager fans awaiting a new hit, which turns into more studio time. The cycle repeats until the band is filthy rich. Eventually, Mercury gets fed up with the monotony, and his hectic lifestyle outside the glam of the band starts to push him away from the people closest to him.

At times the story feels like an indecisive collage that can’t decide between a biography of Mercury or the band, or just another rock ‘n roll flick about an iconic band. Nevertheless, the story comes together brilliantly. “Bohemian Rhapsody” tells just about as much as can be expected from compressing 15 years of history into just over two hours; Mercury’s life was a rollercoaster of off-the-wall experiences that, much like the song the film is named for, can only be fully expressed in more time than conventional limits will allow for.

Though some songs felt like they were thrown into the soundtrack to make sure every notable Queen hit is included, many of these songs are so iconic in their own right, and with scenes crafted perfectly around them, they amplify the experience tenfold. And Malek’s performance as Mercury is glamorous, expressive, and unapologetically passionate such that only Mercury himself could ever top it if he were still with us today.

While “Bohemian Rhapsody” might feel a bit jumbled or rushed its recounting, the performances are as extraordinary as the lives they come from, and the story or Freddie Mercury, while too jam-packed for a conventional film to fully cover, translates spectacularly to the silver screen. Consider the film a “bohemian rhapsody” in its own right; true to its title and inspiration, a socially informal or unconventional epic, but summarized for the Hollywood attention span that could barely stand a song that lasts “six bloody minutes.”

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